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Cycle 7 (2018 Deadline)

Application of GIS and geospatial analyssi in understanding charcoal production, supply, and demand in selected sites of Lusaka, Central, Copperbelt, and North-Western provinces of Zambia

PI: Stephen Syampungani (;, Copperbelt University
U.S. Partner: Andrew Hudak, USDA Forest Service
Dates: November 2018 - October 2020

Project Overview:

This project attempts to undertake a detailed value chain analysis of charcoal. The aim is to identify where improvements must be undertaken in order to reduce the impact of charcoal production, supply, and demand. On the production side, the project is designed to generate information on the spatial distribution of above-ground woody biomass suitable for charcoal making, data that is currently lacking but would be highly useful for designing improved forest management practices in the country. For example, it will allow for spotting degrading areas, as well as mapping areas of less-than-expected biomass where biophysical potential for cost-effective management can exist (Paradzayi & Annegram 2012). Mapping biomass stocks has traditionally been done based on maps of vegetation type or land cover, usually estimating the mean value of each thematic class by means of field measurements at sample locations (Castillo-Santiago et al. 2012). This approach has limitations due to subjectivity involved in the delimitation of thematic classes and the estimation of value for a single factor of interest within the same land cover class, which means that the method does not consider variability within the class. This project will also determine charcoal production methods and evaluate their performance. The research team’s emphasis is on looking at current traditional charcoal production methods with a view to improving on them. They will employ numerical simulation techniques for key phenomena occurring in charcoal earth kilns to improve their design and efficiency and achieve better charcoal yields (see Lubaya, 2015). The feasibility of improvements gleaned through simulation of parameters such as orientation of logs and size distribution, kiln dimensions, physical condition of wood, and insulation wall thickness will be the focus of planned field work. The researchers will also deal with consumer options (especially in terms of efficient use of charcoal) or alternatives to charcoal consumption, as these are important if the impact of charcoal demand is to be addressed. Zambia-wide initiatives such as the Peko-Pe stove, Pulumusa, Jiko and Ziko stoves, and the Rocket stove have been in existence since at least the 1980s (Hoel & Formo 2012; Brinkmann & Klingshirn 2005; Barnes et al. 1994) as potential interventions to limit the use of charcoal, but they have not been successful, as evident from low adoption rates.

This project is expected to contribute towards formulation of appropriate government policies that are required to attract the investments needed to introduce improved charcoal-production technologies at scale, within the overall context of national forest, energy, and land-use planning in Zambia. With charcoal consumption expected to increase in the country in the coming decades, this means charcoal must be integrated into development, energy, land use, and food security strategies. The longer-range impact of the project should promote rural development through greening the charcoal value chain to mitigate climate change and improve local livelihoods. Reducing demands for charcoal due to improved stoves will contribute towards reducing pressure on the forests and woodlands in the country, thereby contributing to environmental sustainability.

Summary of Recent Events

In this reporting period, the PI and his team selected three forest reserves for the proposed project sites namely; Keembe (Central Province), Katanino (Copperbelt Province) and Mbonge (North-Western Province).

One of the project members, Hastings Shamoma, a PhD candidate applied for enrolment with University of Pretoria. He has since been admitted and is currently awaiting study visa approval to enable him travel to South Africa. They decided to enroll him with University of Pretoria because they do not have adequate equipment for GIS and related work. The project also had one female Msc student who is undertaking some studies on regeneration mechanisms various species in charcoal production sites. She has since submitted a conference paper to IUFRO conference to be held in Brazil. The paper has since been accepted for oral presentation.

The PI reports that they are in close touch with the government agencies (such as Forest Department), USAID staff and some private companies dealing in energy and related business. Forest Department is willing to allow them access to their forests some which are available as demonstration sites. The private companies mostly are those dealing in cock stoves and pellets. These companies are willing to have their cock stoves and pellets tested for efficiency.

In the next 3-6 months, they hope to undertake a number of activities including data collection, purchasing the drone and the lidar camera. Additionally, the PhD candidate will have moved back to Zambia, having undertaken extensive literature review on the subject of biomass assessment. The actual research will start and hope to collect data that will be worthy publishing. The Msc student will have completed her research and therefore they hope to have a developed manuscript for publishing in a reputation journal. They will have registered a PhD candidate at Copperbelt University. For this package, the Copperbelt University has what it takes to supervise the PhD student. Additionally, they also hope that the Msc student would have made an excellent progress in his work in terms of data collection and write up.

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