Saving forests, protecting wildlife, and changing lives
Since its launch in 2011, the Kariba REDD+ project has protected nearly 785,000 hectares from deforestation and land degradation, preventing more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere. The project continues to support regional sustainable development and the independence and wellbeing of local communities.
In recent decades, Zimbabwe has suffered from political and economic turbulence. With limited economic opportunities, desperate communities have delved deeper into the forests, clearing it for subsistence farming and fuelwood. More than a third of Zimbabwe's majestic forests have been lost, creating further instability for people with already precarious livelihoods.
The Kariba REDD+ Project protects almost 785,000 hectares of forests and wildlife on the southern shores of Lake Kariba, near the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. One of the largest registered REDD+ projects by area, it sits between the Chizarira, Matusadona and Mana Pools National Parks (also a World Heritage Site), and Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park. The project connects these four national parks and eight safari reserves, forming a giant biodiversity corridor that protects an expansive forest and numerous vulnerable and endangered species – including the African elephant, lion, hippo, lappet-faced vulture and southern ground hornbill.
Kariba REDD+ is a community-based project, administered by the four local Rural District Councils (RDCs) of Binga, Nyaminyami, Hurungwe and Mbire. As such, the project supports a range of activities beyond environmental protection, promoting the independence and wellbeing of these communities. Improved clinic amenities provide better healthcare, infrastructure including new roads and boreholes improve daily life, and school subsidies are offered to the poorest quartile of the population. Project activities in conservation agriculture, community gardens, beekeeping training, fire management, and ecotourism create jobs and facilitate sustainable incomes, benefiting the entire region.