Reports & Analysis
Zambia Releases Two Studies on Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Management for REDD+
Read more on both studies commissioned by the UN-REDD National Programme in Zambia.
One of the studies entitled "Preliminary study on the drivers of deforestation and potential for REDD+ in Zambia", seeks to answer the question of what drives deforestation and what is the potential for REDD+ in Zambia. Since deforestation and poor forest management reduce carbon storage in tropical forests, there has been increasing pressure to minimize carbon stock losses.
The objectives of this study were to assess to what extent our current consumption, production and development patterns affect deforestation levels, as well as assessing the potential impact of future shifts in these patterns; to draw conclusions as to which actions/trends would probably have the most serious consequences in terms of additional deforestation, and analyze how these could be reduced in future. The final aim was to outline the potential for REDD+ in these circumstances. This preliminary study revealed that forest cover loss in deforestation hotspots has been on an upward trend since the late 1980s. Current high levels of deforestation (between 250,000 and 300,000 ha/year) in Zambia mean there is high potential for Zambia’s participation under REDD+, since degraded sites may still be managed for carbon sequestration through coppice or regeneration management. The major challenge is therefore to reconcile the need to improve people's livelihoods with the urgency of achieving sustainable forest resource management.
The second study entitled "Forest management practices with potential for REDD+" identifies practices that can contribute to reducing deforestation and thus address the drivers of deforestation. A selection of the most promising forest and land management practices relevant to REDD+ were included following a stringent process of transparent, academically-sound and practical criteria. According to the study, the highest rated forest management practices based on their management objectives were:
2.Joint Forest management
3.Protected Area Systems in National Forests and National Parks.
The study highlights the need for a good mix of practices that emphasize the combination of a partnership approach to forest management (certification and JFM) with a 'forest conservation' paradigm (Protected Area systems). The main findings from the assessment of land use and management practices show a ranking of agroforestry, beekeeping and Community Based Natural Resource Management as the most optimal land use practices for REDD+. Agriculture is one of the key drivers of deforestation in Zambia. Agriculture may benefit from agroforestry technologies that have the potential for increasing soil fertility at low cost. This would reduce the need to open up forested land for cultivation due to declining fertility in cultivated fields. At the same time, agroforestry increases tree cover beyond what is obtained in natural forests.
Policy briefs on both studies are also available:
“Policy Brief - Forest management practices with potential for REDD+”
“Policy Brief – Preliminary Study on the drivers of deforestation and potential for REDD+”