This reforestation project is establishing commercial forests at Uchindile and Mapanda districts in the Tanzanian Southern Highlands in an area that was classified as degraded grassland.
The project reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through sequestration or ‘carbon sinks’: a process which removes greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere. Forest ecosystems are considered natural carbon capture and storage systems; however they are under increasing threat. The environmental impact of this is twofold: not only does deforestation cause a direct rise in emissions; it reduces the planet’s natural ability to remove carbon through carbon sinks.
The Uchindille Mapanda Project uses a sustainable harvesting practice, which is the cyclical, non-exhaustive removal and replanting of trees. This type of harvesting ensures a base forest cover and capacity for regeneration is constantly maintained.
Ten per cent of the carbon revenues from the forests have been allocated to initiatives which will benefit the local communities near or within the project boundaries. The decision on how to spend this money is agreed with the local villages based on their list of priorities. Priorities are debated through local village council governance systems which have a minimum of 35% female representation. The project developer also allows local villagers free seedlings from its nurseries and has developed a local co-operative where families and villagers learn how to cultivate their own small commercial woodlots
This project is the first ‘Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use’ (AFOLU) project to be validated under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).
In areas covering 7,252 hectares (Uchindile) and 3,562 hectares (Mapanda), four varieties of trees are planted – two each of eucalyptus and pine. Harvesting the eucalyptus and pine trees will occur every 13 and 21 years respectively, with the resulting timber being used to make transmission poles, furniture and pallets. The net growth of the forest biomass throughout the harvesting cycles is monitored through geographic information system (GIS) satellite imagery, as well as by ground staff and local residents.
A range of exotic and indigenous tree species plus local fruit crops have also been planted on the project sites to improve species diversity, ensuring the forests’ health and resilience. Conservation of rare, threatened and endangered tree species is integral to this project and the local communities work in partnership with the project developer to protect them.
This project contributes to sustainable development by facilitating the socio-economic development of local communities by: