To assist the Dambwa Joint Forest Management Committee to develop and implement appropriate forest management strategies for the long term sustainable use of forest resources by local communities as a poverty alleviation strategy.
Zambia is ranked as having one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, around 2% per annum, and increasing). The Forestry Department puts the rate of deforestation in the Livingstone area at 5% per annum, 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 drivers of deforestation are agricultural expansion, infrastructure development, wood extraction (e.g. for fuel or charcoal production) and fire, whilst the underlying drivers are high levels of poverty, low employment and employment opportunities, insecure land tenure, weak institutional capacity, and lack of synergy in forest management policies.
Dambwa Local Forest No. 22 was gazetted as a protected forest area in 1976 as a source of wood for timber, fuel and other forest products for the Livingstone community. Since 2002 the Forest has been part of a pilot programme within Zambia under which a number of forests are jointly managed by the Forestry Department and community to deepen democracy in management of forest resources between the Zambian government and local communities.
Rural households are highly reliant on forest products, yet there is substantial scope for the forest sector to alleviate rural poverty. However, effective forest management is based on good knowledge of forest resources, yet current data on Zambia’s forests is outdated and incomplete.
ALERT, in partnership with Copperbelt University, is working with the Dambwa Joint Forest Management Committee, 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.
- Carbon dynamic monitoring programme: Starting in June 2015 with an assessment of above-ground woody biomass, this project will expand over the coming months to include assessments of all above and below-ground biomass, , horizontal and vertical structure, mortality, root turnover, soil carbon, soil respiration, stem expansions and contractions, stem respiration and litter fall, over time;
- Safety and Sustainability in the Dambwa Forest: In addition to the deforestation impact of wood-burning fires, such fires are responsible for some 17% of carbon dioxide emissions globally. Added to this, over-exposure to these open fires during cooking can cause bronchitis, asthma, and lung cancer. According to the World Health Organisation nearly 2 million people a year die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution due to solid fuel use – more than the number of people who die each year from Malaria. During 2014, ALERT, in partnership with co2balance, and with funding from the Woodspring Trust, developed and provided low-carbon cookstoves to all 336 households surrounding Dambwa Forest. We assessessed wood consumption to have fallen an average of 69% by using the stove compared to open fire coooking practices.
- Reforestation efforts aim to restore biodiversity within the Forest to expected levels for forests of this type in this region, and will additionally focus on replacement of trees most valuable to local communities. Over 1,900 trees have so far been planted. In 2014 with funding from the Woodspring Trust a tree nursery has been established in the Dambwa Forest.
- Benefit Sharing: ALERT leases a large portion of the Dambwa Forest for the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program, operated in this location by our partner Wildlife Encounter. Revenues generated from related commercial activities are shared with the Dambwa Trust, established as the conduit for JFMC members to receive benefits derived under this system. As at the end of 2015 USD 58,282 has been generated for the JFMC.
- Associated Projects: Forest Management projects are additionally supported through ALERT's work with JFMC communities through our school development projects and ALERT Education Centre programmes. An interrelated entomological survey of the Forest, as well as a monitoring programme of an elephant population that utilises the Forest and enters into conflict with JFMC communites, further supports forest management efforts.
2009 - 2014: Revenue sharing with the Dambwa Trust arising from commercial activities operated within the Forest associated with the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program have totalled ca. USD 45,932.
2012 - 2014: ALERT partnered with Greenpop and their Trees for Zambia programme to undertake a reforestation programme, including within the Dambwa Forest. The first reforestation event took place in July 2012 over a period of three weeks during which 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. During a second Trees for Zambia event in July 2013 many thousands more trees were planted around Livingstone, including 1,000 in the Dambwa Forest.
With funding from the Woodspring Trust a tree nursery has been established in the Dambwa Forest,
2013 - 2014: The Woodspring Trust granted GBP 8,660 to provide every household in all villages around the Dambwa Forest with a low carbon cook-stove. By the end of 2014 all 336 households had received a cook-stove, and an educational session on the need to protect and restore the Dambwa Forest, the principle causes and impacts of deforestation, as well as how to use and maintain their low-carbon cookstove.
Prior to implementation, a survey was conducted to provide baseline data on the amount of wood used by households in the target community. The average per capita consumption was found to be 1,231kg, in-line with previous results for this Province. Following delivery of the stoves, fuel usage was reassessed and the per capita annual consumption rate had fallen to between 337 and 435kg – with an average 69% fall from previous rates. This was in line with the 70% expected fall for the stove design as given by co2balance.
Households were further surveyed prior to receiving the low-carbon cookstoves with all respondents reporting the use of firewood as fuel for cooking and heating, obtained from Dambwa Forest. It is predominantly collected by women, who are the primary cooks in the household. Households recognised that deforestation is a major problem in Dambwa Forest. When asked whose responsibility it was to protect the forest, all stated that it should be the Forestry Department delivering this service through monitoring of trees and preventing unsustainable logging. However, it was also noted that the community needs to facilitate Forestry in this aim by putting a halt to tree-cutting at its current rate. The community is very aware of the threats this practice has upon Dambwa Forest, including climate change, reduction in rainfall and shade, soil erosion, and the eventual loss of the forest. Some respondents reported a sharp decline in trees over the last 10 year period. Suggested solutions to this problem included educating the community about the actual rate of deforestation and its consequences, and the introduction of alternative methods of cooking that are sustainable in rural areas.
After receiving the new cookstoves, households were surveyed again to find out how well they were received. Respondents expressed liking the cookstoves and an intention to continue using them. Benefits included their economy in terms of time taken in the Forest to collect wood as less wood is needed, the reduction in tree-cutting, and the food tasting better as a result of being cooked on the cookstoves. They also reported less smoke from the cooking process which was considered a benefit.
2015: During the latter half of the year the survey of above ground woody biomass commenced, and to date 29% of established sample plots have been surveyed, with 2,735 trees measured and 1,608 seedlings / regeneration enumerated. USD 12,350 was generated for the Dambwa Trust under the benefit sharing system.
Video from Trees for Zambia event 2012