The forest is a resource traditionally deemed more valuable dead, chopped down or transported away in trucks and boats. For decades, development donors and NGOs have appealed to the moral high ground, attempting to persuade the people who live in forest areas to safeguard it. But these people depend on forests to survive, so time and again, these efforts are met with the rational question, ‘what’s in it for me?’
BioCarbon Partners (BCP) is an African social enterprise based in Zambia that shows more value and worth can accrue to communities by keeping trees in the ground than by chopping them down. “To combat climate change, we need to protect our forests. To protect our forests, we need to invest in people.” In every sense of the word, BCP has built a self-sustaining livelihood ecosystem which allows communities to grow without encroaching on the forest that they live beside. To better understand the connections between conservation, carbon, communities and global commitments, we speak to CEO, Dr Hassan Sachedina, before juddering down Zambia’s dusty, potholed dirt roads with Communications Coordinator, Chloe Evans, to meet BCP’s community partners of the Luembe and Sandwe Chieftains.
Recommended reading: Read up on REDD+ with this Forest News explainer and a note from the IIED.
Behind the curtain: We are on air thanks to the ANU’s Development Policy Centre.
Visual credits: Women gathering around a BCP borehole in the Sandwe Chiefdom. Photo courtesy of BioCarbon Partners.