FRW news in brief

    | May 26, 2014

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    1-Zimbabwe: Tobacco farmers decrease use of fuelwood, decrease deforestation

    Small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe are working with the tobacco industry to decrease deforestation by using fuel-efficient curing methods for their tobacco crops.

    Zimbabwe exports 160 million kilograms of tobacco annually. Small-scale tobacco farmers account for 90 per cent of that output. Fifty thousand hectares of forest are destroyed each year to cure, or dry, the tobacco with wood smoke.

    Ten thousand energy efficient “rocket” barns have been distributed to small growers over the past two seasons to cut firewood use. These barns use 50 to 55 per cent less fuelwood than traditional curing barns.

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    2-Madagascar: Forest conservation

    A reforestation project in a protected area of rainforest is educating locals on the value of preserving the forest.

    The project generates income for 400 households, with many locals employed as full-time eco-tour guides and tree planters. When the reforestation project began in 2003, Analamazaotra forest station, 150 kilometres east of Madagascar’s capital, was a popular tourist destination. But tourist numbers dropped drastically after the 2009 political crisis, and locals turned to selling charcoal.

    The reforestation project teaches farmers how to cut trees for charcoal in a more sustainable way. It also provides training on agricultural techniques that boost yields and decrease deforestation.

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    3-Congo-Brazzaville: Logging industry encouraged to move towards sustainability

    The Congo basin rainforest has been devastated by illegal logging.

    In recent years, however, the national authorities have been encouraging reforestation and sustainable development. In 2010, Gabon was the first state in the region to impose a total ban on log exports, in an effort to encourage a local wood industry.

    Because of US and EU legislation, any operator using wood and wood-related products must prove the products were logged and exported legally. A certification process is now being applied from logging to wood processing.

    This process is essential to open major world markets for Congolese timber.

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