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March 2021 | Forest protection in Northern Zimbabwe

Forest Protection

In their biomass and soil, forests are powerful carbon storehouses. Protection prevents emissions from deforestation, shields that carbon, and enables ongoing carbon sequestration. Historically, large parts of Zimbabwe was covered by forests with abundant and diverse wildlife. As a richly biodiverse country featuring seven terrestrial eco-regions, 12.5% of the total land area of Zimbabwe is protected within its many National Parks, sanctuaries, and botanical gardens.

In recent decades though, more than a third of Zimbabwe’s forests have been lost. The causes of deforestation here are primarily socio-economic, such as subsistence agriculture, urban expansion, poaching and collecting firewood – all exacerbated by political and economic turbulence in recent years. This project is located on the shores of Lake Kariba, the largest human-made lake in the world, in northern Zimbabwe.

About The Project

The Kariba Forest Protection Project covers almost 785,000 hectares of forests and wildlife on the southern shores of Lake Kariba, near the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. One of the largest registered projects by area, it acts as a giant biodiversity corridor that connects four national parks and eight safari reserves, protecting an expansive forest and numerous vulnerable and endangered species – including the African elephant, lion, hippopotamus and southern ground hornbill.

Kariba is a community-based project, administered by the four local Rural District Councils (RDCs) of Binga, Nyaminyami, Hurungwe and Mbire, and has achieved Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCBS) certification. This means that the project supports a range of activities beyond simply environmental protection, including promoting the independence and wellbeing of the local communities. Improved clinic amenities provide better healthcare, infrastructure including new roads and water boreholes improve daily life, and school subsidies are offered to the poorest quartile of the population. Project activities in conservation agriculture, community gardens, beekeeping training, fire management, and ecotourism create jobs and facilitate sustainable incomes, benefitting the entire region.

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