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Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Programme

The aim of this study was to undertake a rapid assessment of the value and role of forests in the Zambian economy based on available information in order to inform policy de – cisions on forest management and the implementation of REDD+ activities in Zambia. The study is part of the coun – try’s National UN-REDD Programme. REDD+ 1 is a financial mechanism designed to reward developing countries for their verified reductions or removals of forest carbon emis – sions compared to a forest reference (emission) level that complies with the relevant safeguards. Forests are an important component of Zambia’s natural capital and provide benefits that are critical for rural pop – ulations, urban areas, the national economy and the global community. Out of Zambia’s total land area of 75.3 million ha, estimates of remaining forest range from 39 million ha (CSO 2013) to 50 million ha (Kalinda et al. 2008) or 53 million ha (ZFD 2000). Estimates of deforestation rates range from 113,000 ha in 2012 by Global Forest Watch 2 to 167,000 ha per year in FAO’s Global Forest Resource Assessment (FAO 2010) and 250,000 ha per year (ILUA study) to even over 850,000 ha per year (FAO 2001, in Jumbe et al. 2008; GRZ 2006a). Zambia has the second highest per capita deforest – ation rate in Africa and the fifth highest in the world (Aon – gola et al. 2009). The main direct drivers of deforestation are charcoal production, agricultural and human-settlement expansion and illegal exploitation of timber. The study assessed the values of forests in the form of wood production (for timber, fuel wood and charcoal) and nonwood forest products, such as wild foods and medicines. In addition, regulating and cultural services were included, such as the economic value of nature-related tourism, reg – ulation of the climate through carbon sequestration, the retention of sediment for erosion control, the regulation of water flow and water quality, and support for agricultural production through pest control and pollination. The study assesses the critical role that forest ecosystems play in sus – taining and supporting the stocks and flow of ecosystem services to various economic sectors and human well-be – ing in Zambia, as well as addressing potential opportunities that forests offer with respect to transitioning to a green economy, particularly the role of REDD+ in achieving this transformation. It is envisioned that this study will help to elevate the importance of sustainable forest management and conservation in national policy, for example through the national REDD+ strategy.