Many conservation efforts fail because they don’t prioritize people. At BCP we take a holistic approach to understand the link between poverty, environmental degradation and climate change
People living in rural areas of Zambia depend on forests for their survival. They cut down trees to make charcoal and clear land for agriculture. We understand that to protect one of the last great strongholds of forest and wildlife in Africa and tackle climate change, we need to invest in people and demonstrate the value of forest conservation.
Our two project areas extend over 2 million hectares; about the size of the country of Cost Rica. Our field based extension model employs community staff in these Chiefdoms to catalyze behaviour change toward sustainable practises and forest protection.
“When BCP explained the project of conserving forests, we thought that this project would not be a success. However, after sensitisation on the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project and its benefits, we thought we should give them a chance. For us in Ndubulula we support BCP projects and we are seeing a lot of benefits and development.”
- Headman Kantyatya from Ndubulula Village
We follow internationally recognised standards of obtaining “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent” in order to work with communities to protect forests. This ensures that communities understand and agree to a REDD+ forest protection project.
By following the principles of “Free, Prior and Informed Consent,” we engage with communities to explain the importance of protecting forests, and the key role they play. We do this through community meetings, mapping and “ground truthing” activities that allow communities to visit and confirm the proposed boundaries of forests to protect. We also work with traditional leaders and community ambassadors who represent each area.
Going further with Free Prior and Informed Consent: Beyond normal methods of engaging communities, we also use a light aircraft to fly community representatives over their forests. This activity gives community representatives an aerial view of their forests, and helps them identify and confirm the areas they are proposing to protect.
Ground Truthing: Community representatives and BCP walk along the proposed boundaries of the protected forest before the boundaries are confirmed.
The community and BCP enter into long-term (30+ years) binding agreements to keep the forest protected in the areas that we have agreed.
Together with the community we work to protect the forest and make investments into local livelihoods. We aim to improve infrastructure, education, provide training and deliver other benefits that can be linked to forest protection. Our community investments are funded through the sale of verified Forest Carbon Offsets.