In Zambia’s Luanshya district, charcoal production, copper mining and land clearing for agriculture are the primary forms of income for the local community, yet they have caused extensive deforestation and environmental damage. The Copperbelt’s copper smelters have put dangerous quantities of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and heavy metals into the atmosphere, contaminating and acidifying soil and water sources, inducing major health issues and even increasing the chance of acid rain. The damaged farmland increases the poverty and suffering in Luanshya as agriculture is the only form of income for many farmers. Between 2001 and 2018, Luanshya district lost 36% of its tree cover which also led to 3.08 Mt of carbon dioxide emissions. WeForest trains local farmers in various restoration methods like the planting of indigenous and fruit trees while also receiving guidance on beekeeping to gain extra income between fruit-bearing seasons. Their restoration approach of assisted natural regeneration and local community involvement has restored 2,405 hectares of Miombo woodland and planted 2,885,930 trees, sequestering an estimated 348,717 tons of carbon dioxide.
Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world with one of the highest rates of deforestation in Africa. As a result, Zambia’s carbon dioxide emissions have been identified as one of the top 10 highest globally. The contamination from the copper mines has led to the acidification of the Kafue River in Zambia and an increase of heavy metals in crops which has caused many respiratory, gastrointestinal and developmental health issues, among many others. The residents of the Copperbelt region, already suffering from poverty and the negative agricultural-economic effects of excessive sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere, soil and water, are unable to properly recover which is worsened by the constant exposure to the contaminants. Fortunately, trees are able to decontaminate the atmosphere, soil and water sources by absorbing the excess sulfur dioxide and the heavy metals while simultaneously removing the carbon dioxide produced by the deforestation, demonstrating the massive importance and potential of Miombo woodlands for the region and the world.
Your impact donation is helping to achieve the below Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations.
We imagine a world where communities and nations sustainably manage their forests and natural resources for the benefit of our climate, our environment and humanity. Our goal is to successfully transform 250,000 ha of forest landscape by 2021, restoring 25,000 ha of forests (with an estimate of 25 million trees) demonstrating FLR best practices in different ecosystems and leading to the adoption of an international standard. Building upon corporate and scientific partnerships, we empower communities to sustainably advance and implement innovative, high standard, scalable and lasting solutions to restore forest landscapes.
🇿🇲 Luanshya, Copperbelt