FOREST MANAGEMENT: DAMBWA FOREST, LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA

To reverse the large scale deforestation of the Dambwa Forest, to work towards more sustainable management practices, and to create suitable habitat for wildlife.


Zambia has seen rampant deforestation in the past decades and recent reports from the Food & Agriculture Organization (FOA) suggest the country now suffers the second highest deforestation per capita in the world, with Livingstone being one of the worst affected areas.  Zambia’s Forestry Department puts the rate of deforestation in the Livingstone area at 5% annually and believes this now has a bearing on local temperature and rainfall levels.

Deforestation and consequent climate change, even at a local level can result in alterations to ecosystems through a loss of biodiversity and increased incidence of drought and flood, with negative impacts on food security.  The principle causes of this deforestation are tree cutting to produce charcoal for domestic heating and cooking (wood & charcoal providing around 70% of Zambia’s energy requirements) and poor soil management leading to land degradation that ultimately cannot sustain plant communities.

ALERT is working with the Dambwa Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC), comprising communities close to the Forest and the Zambian Forestry Department, to regenerate the Forest and create revenue generating potential from the sustainable use of forest resources.  Payments are also made to the JMFC towards this goal that have been generated by the commercial elements of the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program that is operated by our local partner, Lion Encounter.  A large portion of the Forest has been leased from the Zambian government for this program.


Milestones:

2012: ALERT partnered with Greenpop and their Trees for Zambia program to undertake a reforestation program within the Dambwa Forest.  This program is in association with the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock, Forestry DepartmentNational Heritage Conservation CommissionEnvironmental Management Agency, and the United Nations Development Programme and with the assistance of many individuals and organizations in and around Livingstone. The first reforestation event took place in July 2012 over a period of three weeks.  You can watch a video (below) of what took place, but over 4,000 trees were planted around Livingstone, including 900 in the Dambwa Forest.  Alongside this effort a series of workshops was undertaken with farmers, rural villagers and schools to develop a culture of planting trees, creating awareness of the important role trees play in ensuring food security and to promote conservation farming methods.  A film of the event can be seen below.

2013: The second Trees for Zambia event took place in July 2013.  Many thousands more trees were planted around Livingstone including 1,000 in the Dambwa Forest.

Over ZMW 212,000 (approximately USD 43,000) was provided to the Dambwa Joint Forest Management Committee as part of the benefit sharing scheme.

The Woodspring Trust has generously donated GBP 8,660 to provide every household in all villages around the Dambwa Forest with a low carbon cook-stove.  The introduction of cook-stoves, in partnership with co2balance, will significantly reduce the rate of deforestation and protect the habitat for wildlife.  These cook-stoves will also cut down on carbon dioxide-related health issues from using open fires in closed spaces.

2014:  A pilot study of the low carbon cook-stoves showed an average 69% decrease in the amount of wood used by households compared to traditional cooking methods.  The stoves are now in mass production to provide every household with a stove.  Further efficiencies are expected as we refine the design during this process, as well as by using feedback from the families using the stoves.  So far, families have reported very favourably to the stoves.

Video from Trees for Zambia event 2012

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