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Research Report

Dynamics of the charcoal and indigenous timber trade in Zambia: A scoping study in Eastern, Northern and Northwestern provinces

Davison J. Gumbo
Kaala B. Moombe
Mercy M. Kandulu
Gillian Kabwe
Marja Ojanen
Elizabeth Ndhlovu
Terry C. H. Sunderland
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Pages: 93
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-10)

    Charcoal, timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are part of a broad range of forest resources extracted from the miombo woodlands of eastern and southern Africa,² which have a long history of providing direct support to rural and urban livelihoods. While the revenue generation capacity of timber is obvious, NTFPs have only recently attracted comparable attention (Shackleton et al. 2011). Charcoal and timber provide a basis for potentially viable forest-based enterprises; if adequately planned, these enterprises can contribute meaningfully to the national economy, while benefiting both rural communities and forests (Timko et al. 2010).

    As observed by Roe and Nelson...

  2. (pp. 11-22)

    Over 51 documents were reviewed. To aid the reviewing process, four categories were considered, namely: (i) country, (ii) key focus area, (iii) regional inference and (iv) trade (both formal and informal). Each paper was assessed in terms of the extent to which it addressed issues pertaining to charcoal production and consumption. Given that eastern and southern African countries have large areas covered by miombo woodlands (Dewees et al. 2010), the review also considered whether a paper contributed towards a regional understanding of either the production or trade of charcoal or timber. Lastly, the review looked at whether a document specifically...

  3. (pp. 23-41)

    Scoping studies are increasingly incorporating interviews and focus group discussions obtained during the data gathering process (Levac et al. 2010). This section presents information provided by charcoal and timber producers, as well as other stakeholders encountered along the value chain. When it overlaps with information above, it is appropriately acknowledged.

    Prior to presenting the major findings, two major issues need to be highlighted. First, there are 5 provinces, 10 districts, and 6 border-crossing points, the names of which are mentioned several times hereafter. To reduce repetition, the name of each district or town will be retained, linked with the first...

  4. (pp. 42-51)

    Zambia’s commercial timber stocks have been estimated at 340.1 million m³ of which 75.3% (256 million m³) is located in the country’s semi-evergreen forests. About 19 species are widely harvested, but only 3 are highly sought after, namely Baikiaea plurijuga Harms, Pterocarpus angolensis and Guibourtia coleosperma. The distribution of timber species varies across the country’s nine provinces and determines where the main logging operations are carried out.32

    Reductions in timber stocks due to repeated exploitation have been noted. Evidence shows that Baikiaea forest resources of the Sesheke district in Western province, where harvesting started in the early 1900s, are severely...

  5. (pp. 52-61)

    This study was prompted by the need to understand the production and trade of charcoal and timber in Zambia, and the impact of the industries on forests, people and livelihoods. Charcoal and timber have been extracted from Zambia’s forests for many years, but few studies and research have aimed at understanding their contribution to livelihoods and their implications for sustainable forest management. Assertions have been made that both charcoal and timber production methods are inefficient and contribute significantly to forest degradation and deforestation. It is correct to say that the impacts of charcoal production have been exacerbated by reduced controls,...