Copperbelt: Forests on Farms
In the Luanshya district of the Zambian Copperbelt, WeForest works with hundreds of small-scale farmers. Providing them with training and tools to diversify their sources of income while they plant and protect local forests. As a result, they receive a higher income, diversify their economic activities and learn new skills. The project also links the farmers to local private sector companies to ensure their honey for example gets sold. This way, the project becomes more sustainable, which makes the beneficiaries less dependant on the WeForest contribution.
Restore native Miombo woodlots on smallhold farms
Promote sustainable exploitation of Miombo woodland and sustainable forest management
Promote economic development
Build livelihood resilience
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Why is intervention needed?
The typical Miombo forest has, in the Copperbelt province more than anywhere else in Zambia, suffered from mining and charcoal production. WeForest trains farmers in restoring their small farms (1 or 2 ha on average) with indigenous and fruit trees. Farmers join the programme and report progress with their phones: all of this information is stored to monitor and report with GIS maps of the areas restored.
The project empowers farmers to restore Miombo woodlots on their farmland. Farmers with a minimum of one lima (0.25 hectares) of woodlot are recruited and trained in Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR), which involves protecting and nurturing wild tree seedlings. This process is carried out all year round and serves to promote the natural succession of the forest. To monitor the progress of the restoration efforts and the project in general, the farmers details are stored in a database alongside GIS mapping.
Fruit trees take a while before producing food or income, farmers need short term alternatives to replace the cash they used to get from charcoal for example. Beehives help a lot as they can double their annual income in some cases. Farmers are also taught to harvest biomass from their woodlots through coppicing, a technique that involves extracting wood from tree stems while leaving the total number of trees intact, making it a sustainable alternative to charcoal production.
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* Carbon calculation methodology
In the Copperbelt province, the above-ground biomass in Miombo woodlands can store an average of 145.4 tons of CO2 per hectare after a period of 20 years.
Kalaba, F.K., Quinn, C.H., Dougill, A.J., Vinya, R., 2013. Floristic composition, species diversity and carbon storage in charcoal and agriculture fallows and management implications in Miombo woodlands of Zambia. Forest Ecology and Management 304, 99–109. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2013.04.024