How to love trees
March 13 2014

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.  The per capita annual consumption of firewood in Zambia is estimated at 1,025 Kg in rural areas [1].  The highest rates are found in the Southern province where deforestation has already impacted local climate, resulting in increased drought frequency and intensity, with negative effects on food crop production [2]. 

The rural communities surrounding Dambwa Forest, located in Southern province just outside the city of Livingstone, will be the beneficiaries of low carbon cook-stoves for every household, thanks to the generous support of the Woodspring Trust. 

Dambwa Cookstove in Use

Prior to implementation of this project a sample of households were assessed for current wood usage, having an average of 1,231 Kg per capita annual consumption.  Following a lengthy design process with the assistance of co2balance, a stove design was created to make use of locally available resources, the majority of which come from sustainable sources.  As a pilot of the full scale project the first stoves created have been provided to households and their wood consumption reassessed to measure the efficiency of the design.  The results show a significant decline in wood usage to a per capita annual consumption rate of between 337 and 435 Kg – an average 69% fall from previous rates.  These results are within the expected range of efficiencies, although we are hoping to increase this through feedback from the families using the stoves, as well as from improvements in the manufacture process as we commence mass production.

Feedback from the families that are using the first stoves has been extremely favourable, reporting that they are able to cook all the foods they usually do on the stove, in the same time as on an open fire, and that smoke from the stove is less than from traditional cooking methods. 

This project is part of a broader forest management project to rejuvenate and protect the Dambwa Forest.

[1] Kalumiana OS (1996) Study on the demand and supply of firewood and charcoal, Copperbelt Province. Provincial Forestry Action Programme, Ndola.

[2] Mwitwa J, Vinya R, Kasumu E, Syampungani S, Monde C, Kasubika R (2012) Drivers of deforestation and potential for REDD+ interventions in Zambia. UN-REDD Zambia National Programme Policy Brief.

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