UNFCCC Reference No.: 4176
About 3000 years ago, abrupt climatic changes towards drier conditons occured on the Batéké plateau in the Democratic Republic of Congo that led to what is now an ecosystem of dry forest. About 90% of the plateau is covered by grassland and shrubby savannah that is subject to repeated annual burning, and 10% forest gallery exposed to progressive degradation and deforestation from subsistence farming (maize, cassava) and charcoal production. The fires generally originate from anthropogenic causes (accidental or deliberate fires for hunting purposes) and impede on the encroachment and successful growth of woody plants, particularly trees.
The Ibi Batéké Degraded Savannah Afforestation project is establishing various types of forest plantations and thus, converting 4,200 hectares of degraded savannah into an abundant and sustainable fuelwood supply for charcoal production. The aim of the project is to encourage the local population and farmers to stop the destruction of natural forests and to concentrate on planting managed forests. These managed forests of acacia, eucalyptus and indigenous species on the degraded lands help to sequester carbon and contribute to the supply of fuelwood for the capital city of Kinshasa.
The project is developed by NOVACEL, whose founders are natives of the Batéké region. Through a strategy of integrated development, NOVACEL wishes to integrate agricultural, livestock and forest production with the agro-industrial production of commodities such as cassava flour, corn flour or charcoal and build a strong involvement of the local communities. The BioCarbon Fund played a pivotal role in enabling NOVACEL to obtain the private sector loans to finance the project’s upfront investments and facilitated the participation of a second carbon buyer, Orbeo, a subsidiary of the French conglomerate Société Generale and Rhodia. UMICORE, SUEZ and AFD (French Development Agency) are financing part of the investment needs for the project. UNEP’s CASCADe program is providing technical assistance.
The specific objectives of the project are as follows: • sequester CO2 through fast growing forest plantations on savannah grassland with occasional scattered shrubs (please refer to section A5 for a detailed technical description of plantation establishment) ; • supply the capital city of Kinshasa (8-10 million inhabitants) with charcoal through sustainable fuelwood production ; • reduce soil erosion and water loss through runoff; • reduce degradation and deforestation of remaining forest galleries ; • alleviate poverty through the introduction of long term income enhancement mechanisms for local communities.
The project is reducing deforestation of the remaining galleries and helping in the creation of a sustainably managed forest estate which provide resources for timber and non-timber forest products. Further, a decrease in deforestation has helped in the reduction of soil erosion, mitigating water loss from runoff, and sequestering carbon dioxide. Bush fires are also avoided because of this project. In the long term, the sustainably managed plantations will provide shelter to wildlife and improve biodiversity. The model applied to this project can be replicated on the Batéké plateau, and with necessary silviculture adapted to other savannah areas within the country.
The project has enhanced local employment opportunities by providing both permanent forest management staff positions (half of which are executive positions) and temporary positions in harvesting, timber processing, and charcoal production. In addition, by supplying the capital city of Kinshasa with charcoal from sustainable fuelwood production, the project is preserving forest resources for future generations. Project activities are contributing to the sustainable alleviation of poverty, particularly by introducing long-term income enhancement mechanisms for local communities and encouraging entrepreneurship.