Tree growing in Zambia
Zambia • Assisted natural regeneration - all photos ©WeForest
Zambia’s Copperbelt is a deforestation hotspot. Land degradation and soil erosion have become widespread and result primarily from the increasing population and the pressure it places on land through poor agricultural practices and other social-economic activities such as charcoal production. Since 2011, WeForest has engaged hundreds of farmers in the Luanshya province regenerating over 2.000ha through assisted natural regeneration. This programme is now scaling up into 2 new districts in the Copperbelt.
At a glance
Planting period: all year round
The main restoration approach here is Assisted Natural Regeneration
Actively engaging smallholder farmers in reversing deforestation
WeForest's goal is a world where communities and nature sustainably thrive together to stop global warming in our lifetime. They work towards this goal by conserving and restoring the ecological integrity of forests and landscapes, engaging communities to implement and deliver lasting solutions for climate, nature and people. They have set the ambitious goal to plant 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.
The project empowers farmers to restore miombo woodlots on their farmlands. 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.
In the Luanshya district, our partner works with hundreds of small-scale farmers, providing them with training and tools in return for setting aside part of their lands to regenerate the miombo woodland. As a result, they receive higher incomes, diversify their economic activities and learn new skills. The project also links them to local companies to ensure their honey gets sold. This way, the project becomes more sustainable, which makes the beneficiaries less dependent on WeForest's contribution. Fruit trees take a while to produce food or income, so 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 a household's annual income in some cases. Farmers are also trained in harvesting 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. Besides the project manager, WeForest currently employs 2 women in the nursery, 2 trainers (1 female), a driver and 9 beehive mentors.
This project is not (yet) verified by a third-party carbon standard, but WeForest is one of the worlds’ most-renowned forest restoration organisations in the world. In June 2021, a successful third party audit took place and means the project is now verified to the Forest Ecosystem Restoration standard. This standard was developed by Preferred by Nature to enable projects to demonstrate alignment with and support for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and covers technical, environmental, social and economic criteria. You can see the certificate here.
United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
As a Regreener contributor your money directly goes towards supporting projects that are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Here are the goals recognised by this project:
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development