This project aims to strengthen the capacity of rural communities in Chiredzi district wards 13 and 15 to reduce carbon emissions through protection and enhancement of their forest resources. Carbon reduction incentives could be an effective way of reducing deforestation and forest degradation while enabling the poor to benefit. The strong history of successful community-based natural resource management in Zimbabwe provides a ready-built institutional base on which such initiatives can be implemented, saving on the transaction costs associated with setting up new systems and structures.
One area in Zimbabwe that has significant potential for contributing to reduced CO2 emissions through avoided deforestation is the Malipati area of Chiredzi district in the south eastern lowveld. This is one of the dry areas in the country (agro-ecological region V) that experiences very low (200-500mm annually) and erratic rainfall but is well forested. The area is dominated by mopane forests and woodlands which are fairly well-stocked. The forests are however under threat from clearance for agriculture as farmers try to cope with increasing droughts through extensive agriculture. Natural regeneration of the forests is hampered, in some areas, by over-grazing especially by goats which eat the seedlings. The forest areas are also exposed to annual dry season fires which destroy both mature trees and saplings. In terms of crop production, the area experiences frequent crop failures due to low and erratic rainfall. In fact the area experiences frequent droughts.
SAFIRE, in partnership with LED, has been working in the same area for the last 10 years and has helped rehabilitate the Malipati small-scale irrigation scheme in the area and has also promoted conservation agriculture in rainfed cropping to improve crop productivity. The purpose of this project is to help 3000 households in rural communities of Malipati to adapt to climate change through adopting conservation agriculture practices while protecting and enriching their forests and woodlands for carbon sequestration, other environmental services and for production of non-timber forest products.