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Trees for Zambia


Forests act as carbon sinks throughout the world. Second to wetlands, tropical forests sequester the most carbon, both through plants and soil, at roughly 109 tons per acre. More than 50 percent of Zambia consists of intact tropical forest, which is endangered by illegal logging activity and unsustainable energy and agricultural practices.

According to the World Rainforest Movement, local communities see none of the profits from commercial timber activities, the transition from the localized "citemene" farming system to monoculture farming, primarily focused on maize production, has introduced the use of government-subsidized chemical fertilizers, which degrade the soil and promote frequent migration to more fertile lands and "slash and burn" forest clearings, and the privatization of electricity generation has made electricity very expensive, so both urban and rural communities resort to burning charcoal, which has to be harvested from special forest wood stock.

Several reports have linked deforestation to the prevalence of poverty. Forests are a ready but limited resource for communities that rely on agriculture for food security and burning charcoal for energy. According to recent reports by the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD), Zambia's current deforestation rate is 1.5 percent, ranking it among the highest in the world. Small-scale farming operations, which shift geographically, contribute to most of the land clearings for agricultural production, which contributes to 90 percent of Zambia's deforestation. Wood fuel accounts for 3 percent of GDP and is an important economic driver for both rural and urban areas, with nearly 80 percent of the population relying on it for cooking. Greenfield mining and wild forest fires also have their effect on deforestation.

However, with sustainable practices, Zambia's forests can regenerate, preserving entire ecosystems, which contribute to the country's biodiversity and natural wealth, a major driver of one of its most important industries, tourism.

Headquartered in South Africa, the reforestation and tree-planting enterprise, Greenpop has pioneered a multifaceted and hands-on agrotourism approach to restoring some of Zambia's tree growth in the Linvingstone area in southern Zambia, home to Victoria Falls.

Dubbed a "conference of action," the 2013 summer planting season begins Sunday, July 7 and lasts for three weeks, bringing together volunteers from all over the world to plant over 5000 indigineous fertilizing and fruit trees on agricultural land and school grounds, to participate in educating farmers on setting up nurseries through conservation farming techniques, which will add to the organization's and local reforestation tree stock for the coming years, to build parabolic solar cookers, so communities reduce their reliance on charcoal, and to participate in workshops and educational events toward establishing a culture of planting trees.

The organization's 2013 partners include government bodies, local and international organizations and private companies invested in Zambia's sustainable development.

Throughout the year, Greenpop offers opportunities for companies and individuals, wherever they are in the world, to sponsor trees for Zambia, which can be tracked through GPS once planted.


A video from the 2012 Trees for Zambia event: