Kariba forest protection project, Zimbabwe

Since its launch in 2011, the Kariba project has been protecting nearly 785,000 hectares from deforestation and soil degradation, preventing the release of over 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. It is one of the most important accredited REDD+ projects. The area connects four national parks and eight safari reserves. In recent decades Zimbabwe has suffered from severe limitations of economic opportunities that have progressively pushed local communities to enter more and more forests, clearing and destroying the area to develop subsistence agriculture and produce firewood. More than a third of Zimbabwe's majestic forests went lost.




Impacts and benefits

Environmental impacts. The protected area extends south of the shores of Lake Kariba near the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is a gigantic corridor of biodiversity protecting an expansive forest of nearly 785,000 hectares and numerous vulnerable and endangered species. The above has enabled a reduction of over 3.5 million tons of CO2 on average every year since 2011.

Social impacts. The project supports a range of activities to promote the independence and well-being of local communities by creating jobs and sustainable incomes, benefiting the entire region. The main interventions concerned:

  • improvement of health services and healthcare through 14 clinics;
  • the re-commissioning of 147 wells which allowed 37,000 people to access drinking water;
  • school subsidies for the poorest communities;
  • development of conservation agriculture, with the creation of gardens managed by the local community, training courses for beekeeping and fire management.