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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
Witnessing the rate at which we are losing our forests has motivated me to focus my research efforts on how we can turn things around—and use woodland ecosystems to mitigate climate change, with the local community involved.
Apart from providing ecological services like air purification and wildlife habitat, forests are a source of livelihood for our people, especially in rural and peri-urban areas. Communities source firewood and non-wood forest products, such as mushrooms and honey, and obtain wood for constructing their houses. Their lives are centered on forests. The good thing is, most local people realize the benefits of the forests, so as ecologists we need to engage communities in sustainable management of these forests.
One of Zambia’s main forest degradation activities, charcoal production, stems from communities needing to earn income. That’s why carbon trading, which compensates local communities for conserving forests, has a lot of potential. Basically, a carbon credit value is assigned based on how much carbon dioxide a forest can absorb and store. Companies, governments, or individuals [seeking to] offset their emissions can purchase these carbon credits; they pay the community living in a forested area—and the nation at large—under the condition that the forest is conserved.
I want to carry the sustainable forest management and forest conservation agenda forward in my country and region. I want to lobby and inform the government to push and integrate forest management mechanisms that promote conservation. Seeing measures such as carbon trading being taken up as forest management strategies is a great achievement for me.