Forest Management in Zambia

Zambia is located at an altitude of between 2,164 and 350m above sea level, largely on the Central African Plateau, with four major biomes consisting of forest, woodland, grassland and aquatic systems (GRZ, 2005). Zambia is one of the most forested countries in Africa and approximately 67% (49,468,000 ha) of Zambia’s land surface is covered by forest (FAO, 2011). The most common forest type is Miombo woodland, which covers 42% of the land area (Vinya et. al. 2011). Above- and below-ground carbon stored in biomass is estimated to be 2.5 billion tonnes and a further 204 million tonnes stored in dead wood (FAO, 2011).


At the global level Zambia has been identified as one of the top 10 greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting countries as a result of deforestation and degradation (EIA, 2008). REDD+ is therefore seen as an important mitigation option for Zambia (Estrada et. al., 2012).

Estimated rates of deforestation vary depending on the methods of measurements used. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO, 2011) estimates average annual rates of deforestation to be 167,000 ha per annum or 0.33% of total forest cover between 2000 and 2010, however, the most commonly quoted figure is 250,000-300,000 ha per annum (approx. 0.50-0.60% of total forest cover) based on 1965-2005 data (see Vinya et. al., 2012 and UN-REDD, 2010). Deforestation rates vary between different provinces. A study from 2012 found the highest rates of deforestation to be in Luapula- (2.47%), Eastern- (0.85%) and Copperbelt provinces (0.84%), while the lowest rates were found in Southern and Western provinces (Chidumayo, 2012).

Zambia Working Group

The Zambia the Forestry Department is the lead for the SMFM project work in Zambia and the lead of the Implementation Working Group. The Forestry Department's mandate includes management of state forest reserves and the enforcement of national regulations related to the use and harvesting of forest resources on state and customary lands. Other functions include: providing guidelines and supervision for the management, restoration and establishment of forests, as well as facilitating and regulating forest industries, providing extension services and research.

The Forestry Department is the main implementing body of REDD+ activities in Zambia, at the national and sub-national levels, and it has representatives in each of the country's 10 districts. 

Other members of the working group also include:

  • National Remote Sensing Center (NRSC)

  • Zambia Survey Department 

  • Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW)

  • Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA)

  • University of Zambia- Geomatic Engineering Department (UNZA)



  • BioCarbon Partners (BCP)

Satellite Monitoring for Forest Management

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