Engaging smallholder farmers in reversing deforestation

Copperbelt project overview

This project, in association with WeForest works with hundreds of small-scale farmers, providing them with training and tools in return for setting aside part of their lands to regenerate the miombo woodland. As a result, they receive higher incomes, diversify their economic activities and learn new skills.

The project also links them to local companies to ensure the economy is more sustainable, making the beneficiaries less dependent on WeForest's contribution.


The Luanshya district, Copperbelt province, Zambia

Project timeline:
2016- (ongoing)

Project goals:
Restore native Miombo woodlots on smallhold farms

Promote sustainable exploitation of Miombo woodland and sustainable forest management

Promote economic development

Circular Computing support WeForest

Circular Computing™ allocated 76,326 trees with WeForest in the project Copperbelt: Forests on Farms since 2016.

10,626 trees are already registered as restored.

Why intervention?

In the past five years alone, 42% of the forest has already been lost and another 18% heavily degraded.

This trend is likely to increase in the years to come if there is no intervention, while the needs of the local community living in or around the forest are growing. Current 'reforestation' efforts in the area have been limited and restricted to small areas outside the forest reserve, mostly on private land.

WeForest's project aims to build local capacity to effectively transfer ownership of the forest to the communities. The purpose is to ensure that community members are co-creators of the forest management plan and will be able to participate and benefit meaningfully throughout the process, with a particular focus on women.

Project stories

Empowering the community

Percy C is one of the community's most noteworthy examples, a WeForest member since 2015 with an area of 0.69 hectares, farmer Percy grows maize, soya beans, sweet potatoes and groundnuts.

In 2017, he was chosen by the local community to become a bee mentor, and WeForest training meant that Percy excelled in his duty to manage hundreds of beehives.

In 2019 he trained with WeForest to be a Community Forest Ranger, and in 2020, he was elected as Chair of the Luanshya Forestry Commodities Association. Percy is a respected member of his community, championing the needs of his fellow farmers and the forest in which they live.

Six community forest rangers, such as Percy, patrol the Luanshya project area, visiting the farms and areas of Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR). It is crucial that ANR sites are protected from tree cutting and charcoal production, and farmers are required to join the LFCA and install fire breaks around their sites to protect redeveloping trees.

The rangers play an important role in monitoring the Luanshya project, and their findings will help define the ongoing strategy.


Bees for the trees

Take David F, from Mipundu in Luanshya. He is 48 years old and has been a WeForest farmer since 2016. He has five beehives on his 1.25 ha farm forest, four of which were occupied this season, providing a whopping 65kg of honey during the harvest. This meant David received an extra 22% of his usual annual income!

Honey harvest happens twice a year, so he hopes that if he keeps taking care of his farm, he will receive a similar amount in December. Not only that, but bees are also hugely beneficial to the ecosystem of the region and indeed the world, they are an essential component of nature.


Project benefits

Ecological restoration

The project empowers farmers to restore miombo woodlots on their farmlands. Farmers with a minimum of one lima (0.25 hectares) of woodlot are recruited and trained in Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR), which involves protecting and nurturing wild tree seedlings.

This process is carried out all year round and serves to promote the natural succession of the forest.

Livelihood development

Fruit trees take a while to produce food or income, so farmers need short-term alternatives to replace the cash they used to get from charcoal, for example. Beehives help a lot, as they can double a household's annual income in some cases.

Farmers are also trained in harvesting biomass from their woodlots through coppicing, a technique that involves extracting wood from tree stems while leaving the total number of trees intact, making it a sustainable alternative to charcoal production.

Together we can make more of these projects become a reality

When a Circular Computing laptop is purchased, not only do you get a leading-brand carbon neutral remanufactured laptop, but you also help invest in clean energy projects around the world and finance five trees to be planted in your name, through our reforestation partners.

In the modern world, it is easy to feel powerless...but the actions of each and every one of us counts.

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