Bomen planten

Growing forests in Zambia

  • Bomen planten - Tree Growing
    • The Luanshya district, Copperbelt province, Zambia
    • Leestijd: 5 min
Conserved forest in Zambia thriving in the sun

Project beoordeling

 

Carbon impact

Co-benefits

Data Transparency & Governance

  • Laag
  • Gematigd
  • Hoog
  • Heel hoog

Project informatie

At a glance

Zambia’s Copperbelt is a deforestation hotspot. The Miombo forest in the Copperbelt province has, more than anywhere else in Zambia, suffered from mining and charcoal production. From 2011 to 2021, the region lost 239,000ha of tree cover. Together with our partner, we engage hundreds of smallholder farmers in the Luanshya district, providing them with training and tools to diversify their sources of income while they restore miombo woodlots on their farmlands.

The goal of the project is to conserve and restore the ecological integrity of forests and landscapes, engaging communities to implement and deliver lasting solutions for climate, nature, and people. So far, over 4.200ha is under restoration through practices of Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) and has the programme been scaled up into 2 new districts (Mpongwe and Ndola) in the Copperbelt province.

Carbon impact

The collapse of the mining industry in the 1990s, and more recently 2016, forced large numbers of unemployed miners to turn to small-scale agriculture and charcoal production to make a living, placing additional pressure on the surrounding forests. The Copperbelt was the region with the highest forest cover loss in Zambia between 2000 and 2012, and hence an area where urgent inclusive interventions are needed.

Our project partner, WeForest, recruits and trains farmers in the Copperbelt with a minimum of one lima (0,25 hectares) of woodlot in Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR), which involves protecting and nurturing wild tree seedlings. It is a blend of active planting and passive restoration, where local people intervene to help trees and native vegetation naturally recover by eliminating barriers and threats to their growth.

Research indicates, that letting forests regrow naturally can help absorb 23% of the worlds CO2 emissions each year, additionally to carbon sequestration already provided by existing forests. Besides from reducing CO2, these natural practices also contribute to cleaner water, reduced soil erosion, mitigation of droughts and floods, and lower landslide risk. So far, the project has grown over 5 million trees.

Co-benefits

Promoting the growth of naturally regenerating forests is crucial for biodiversity restoration, providing habitats for endangered species. This approach also diversifies forest management by fostering the cultivation of mushrooms, wild fruits, and honey. Encouraging the growth of wild tree seedlings speeds up land restoration with minimal human intervention.

Given that local farmers are non-traditional, supporting and training them as environmental stewards is increasingly important. To achieve this, small-scale farmers receive training and tools in exchange for dedicating part of their land to regenerate miombo woodland. This results in higher incomes, economic diversification, and the acquisition of new skills for 1170 households benefiting from the project.

Since many households rely on forest products but face food shortages, the project focuses on short-term alternatives. Specifically, beekeeping and vegetable garden irrigation schemes are implemented as livelihood activities. In 2023, 489 farmers in Mpongwe, Luanshya, and Ndola harvested 33,468.93 kg of honey from 1665 beehives. The project connects farmers with local companies to ensure honey gets sold, reducing dependency on program support. Additionally, farmers are educated on biomass harvesting through coppicing, a sustainable technique that extracts wood from tree stems while preserving overall tree numbers. This selective cutting promotes long-term forest health without compromising regeneration potential.

Project gallery

Location of the project

Project partner

WeForest

This project is run by WeForest, a non-profit organization that was established in in 2010. WeForest’s mission is to create a world where communities and nature sustainably thrive together to stop global warming in our lifetime. WeForest works towards this goal by conserving and restoring the ecological integrity of forest. Their goal is to reach over 100 million trees – equivalent to around 85.000 hectares – restored or conserved by the end of 2024, thereby making a significant contribution to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals

Diversification and increase of income by promoting short-term alternatives such as beekeeping, crop production, and forest products.
Healthier forests increase food security, improve nutrition, and promote a more sustainable form of agriculture.
Promotion of wellbeing among families and smallholder farmers.
Sustained and inclusive income growth for thousands of households.
Reduced inequality for marginalized groups such as smallholder farmers and local households.
Forest growth by planting more than 5 million trees that sequester carbon.
Restoration of 4283 hectares of degraded lands that provide habitats for more than 34 animal and plant species.
Large group of local restoration partners, including WeForest Zambia, LFCA, DFCA, Rainlands Timber, BeeSweet.

Kom vandaag nog in actie met Regreener

Foto van teamgenoot Boris Bekkering

Boris Bekkering Head of Climate Impact