Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project Achieves VCS Verification!

The BCP Team is proud to announce that our Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project has achieved verification against the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

 

The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP) is the first VCS-verified REDD+ project in Sub-Saharan Africa to have also achieved “triple gold” level validation against the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) Standard— this is the first project to have achieved gold level validation for “exceptional” positive impacts to local community stakeholders. The LZRP is also only the second VCS verified REDD+ project in the world to achieve these two accreditations of CCB “triple gold” and VCS.

 

The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project is taking place on Rufunsa Conservancy, located in Rufunsa District of Lusaka Province, Zambia. The project is protecting 39,000 hectares of intact miombo forest along the northwestern boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park adjacent to the Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA).  Through the affiliated BCP Trust, the project is also supporting community-based deforestation mitigation projects that are designed to address the major drivers of local deforestation by reducing poverty, improving livelihoods and providing meaningful alternatives to deforestation-dependent livelihoods. In particular, BCP is supporting sustainable charcoal production, improved conservation farming practices, small livestock production projects and critical social services investments in local schools, all of which are linked explicitly to efforts to reduce deforestation and protect forests within the REDD+ project area.

 

The LZRP is implemented by BioCarbon Partners (BCP)— a Zambian based REDD+ social enterprise. BCP works actively with local partners, including local Traditional Leaders, the Forestry Department and Zambia Wildlife Authority, to support project activities.  The Late Chief Bunda Bunda said about this project: “We are enthusiastic to partner with the government and BioCarbon Partners to reduce deforestation in the Bunda Bunda Chiefdom. We are alarmed at the high rates of deforestation threatening community well-being and we are keen to partner to conserve forests and find alternatives to charcoaling.”

 

“The BCP team is very grateful to our Government and community partners, as well as all of the implementing partners and supporters who have helped to make this work possible. A lot of hard work went into this collaborative effort, and we look forward to continuing to support the national REDD+ strategy,” said Dr. Hassan Sachedina, MD of BioCarbon Partners.

 

The LZRP is now actively seeking potential buyers to purchase credits from this project to support our ongoing efforts. In order for this project to succeed, it is essential that this project is able to remain funded through the sale of verified emissions reductions (VERs)—commonly known as “carbon credits”—generated through our activities. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to purchase carbon credits generated through this unique project, please do not hesitate to contact us at: info@biocarbonpartners.com.

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Young students in Mweeshangombe Zone participate in a fruit tree planting project, supported by BCP and the Forestry Department.

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Forest cover at Rufunsa Conservancy, adjacent to the Lower Zambezi National Park.

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The view from Chipako Hill at Rufunsa Conservancy, at the heart of the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project.

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BCP promotes a community-based approach to sustainable forest protection. As a result of our focus on community engagement, the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project is the first VCS verified REDD+ project in Africa to achieve CCB “gold level” validation for exceptional positive impacts to local communities.

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The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project is designed to rehabilitate and protect a critical buffer to the Lower Zambezi National Park.

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BCP is committed to exploring and developing innovative approaches to reduce deforestation, such as our community-based sustainable eco-charcoal harvesting project, piloted in Ndubulula Community since 2012.

Turning “Swords into Ploughshares” at Rufunsa

The village scouts are our front line, protecting the conservancy and its surrounding areas from all manner of destructive practices such as poaching and illegal logging.  One never knows what they will bring back to camp on returning from a patrol.  It might be a bedraggled poacher or two, a confiscated axe or bicycle, but most often it is handful of snares.

Over the last couple of years the office storeroom has slowly filled up with lengths of heavy gauge wire that have been left by poachers at various points around the property.  These snares are a simple but deadly effective means of trapping even the largest of wild animals.  Fashioned into a noose, the wire cables are placed along the pathways used by wildlife.  Once snared the animal will remain trapped, suffering for hours or even days before the poacher returns to finish it off.

Given its protected status, Rufunsa Conservancy is one of the last remaining areas in the region where there are still populations of larger animals such as Roan and Sable.  These are a prized target for poachers given that a single animal can represents a significant quantity of bushmeat to be sold on the local market.  But due to the vigilance of our village scouts, poaching has been greatly reduced in Rufunsa and, as a consequence, in the neighbouring Lower Zambezi National Park.

The question remains however, what to do with all those recovered snares littering up the storeroom?  They are not easy to dispose of and unless one is willing to undertake the laborious task of cutting them up into small pieces, there is the risk of them disappearing and being reused.  Fortunately the ideal solution was at hand.  We are currently in the process of training up some our staff in construction methods.  As part of that training they are busy building an accommodation block for the village scouts.

It seemed only appropriate then that at the critical point of pouring the concrete for the building’s foundations that we use the wire snares as part of the reinforcing.  That way, not only would it prove impossible for anyone to remove the snares in order to continue their destructive work, but the village scouts could sleep soundly knowing that the fruits of their labour were helping to hold up the very building in which they slept.  Inspiration for this idea came from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya (https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org).

By: Alan Deverell, Conservation Consultant

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