In 2021, Government partners through the Forestry Department officially approved the establishment of the 15,000+ hectare Mpanshya Wildlife Corridor. This strategic corridor links two of Zambia’s most important biodiversity areas of the Lower Zambezi and Luangwa ecosystems.The project area was designated by local community members themselves after a free, prior and informed consent. The project enjoys widespread support not only from the local communities, but also from the traditional authorities and the government of the Republic of Zambia, who actively take part in the project's implementation.
🌻Intensive biodiversity conservation of unique flora, fauna and forest ecosystems: this area is a prime habitat for endangered large mammals and vulnerable bird species. Luangwa forests are home for large populations of primates, bovids, carnivores, bats and Zambia’s largest hippopotamus population. There are 1350 plant species recorded, including 8 endemic woody species.
🌳Tackling the underlying socio-economic drivers of deforestation - subsistence farming, charcoal and fuelwood collection - the project brings the alleviation of poverty with new livelihood strategies and capitalization of the farmer-to-farmer model and it has brought a 171% increase in household income over the past 5 years.
📈 Performance-based investments focused on agricultural improvement, infrastructure development and prevention of forest encroachment and poaching have enabled reduced pressure on natural resources.
🍃 The expected positive impact of this project is an annual carbon dioxide equivalent units (CO2e) emission reduction of 2,985,650.
The Luangwa Valley is one of the greatest wildlife strongholds remaining on Earth; home to African wild dogs, elephants, leopards, and lions. The Luangwa River, one of Africa’s longest undammed free-flowing rivers, is a pivotal lifeline to one of the richest wildlife concentrations on earth. The valley topography presents breathtaking beauty in the landscape while also keeping wildlife population density in the area high, resulting in a strong tourism industry that contributes significantly to Zambia’s economy.
The LCFP works to address key drivers of deforestation while also benefiting local communities by reducing poverty, creating sustainable incomes, improving social services, and encouraging conservation.
In 2020 and 2021, while the Zambian economy is estimated to have contracted by 1.2%, with thousands of jobs lost as a result of Covid-19, the pandemic placed immense pressure on Zambia’s rural communities, many of whom rely on the conservation, tourism, and agricultural sectors. While tourism has been pushed to the brink (with South Luangwa NP generating an estimated $30 million pre-Covid-19 to as little as $4.5 million today), REDD+ has continued to bring revenue to local communities, with result-based payments of US$8 million since the pandemic began.
Over the last five years, household income has increased 171% in the Luangwa Community Forests Project, and a minimum of 2,200 opportunities for income generation have been created across both projects, demonstrating how durable and successful the REDD+ model has proven to Zambia’s local economy.