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Forest ecosystem services, rural livelihoods and carbon storage in Miombo woodland in the Copperbelt region of Zambia

Kalaba, Felix Kanungwe (2013) Forest ecosystem services, rural livelihoods and carbon storage in Miombo woodland in the Copperbelt region of Zambia. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This study examines the linkage between rural livelihoods and forest ecosystem services under different land uses in Miombo forest socio-ecological systems of Zambia to understand the potential for carbon-based payment for ecosystem service schemes. The research develops and adopts an integrated research methodology in a new framework for ecosystem assessment (FESA) that combines livelihood surveys, ecological surveys and policy analysis to provide an interdisciplinary, multi-level case study analysis. Findings show that forest provisioning ecosystem services (FPES) are vitally important to rural livelihoods as a source of food, medicine, construction material and fodder, and make the highest contribution to household income among diverse livelihood strategies. FPES provided 43.9% of the average household’s income and contributed a 10% income equalisation effect among study households, as revealed by the Gini-coefficient analysis. Poorer households received a lower mean annual income from forests than did their intermediate and wealthy counterparts, but in relative terms, forest income made the greatest contribution to their total household incomes. The study indicates that wealth, rather than gender, was the key determinant of a household’s engagement in the sale of FPES. Results also show that households face multiple shocks and that FPES are the most widely used coping strategy used by households facing idiosyncratic shocks such as illness, death of family members and loss of household assets which changes household consumption patterns. In terms of carbon storage, the study shows that Miombo woodlands are an important carbon store and that carbon storage can recover quickly through regeneration of cleared forests. After forest clearance for charcoal production and slash and burn agriculture, aboveground carbon stocks accumulate rapidly showing no significant differences in carbon stocks between undisturbed woodlands and ≥ 20 year old fallows. Findings however indicate low species similarities suggesting that though Miombo systems recover relatively fast in terms of carbon storage, species composition and biodiversity takes longer to recuperate. Findings of this research show a lack of multi-stakeholder involvement in forest governance, which is hindered by the absence of legislation to ensure stakeholder participation and cost and benefit sharing mechanisms. Policy analysis show inconsistencies between Zambia’s national agricultural, forestry, energy and climate change policies and national statements to multilateral environmental agreements in efforts to address forest loss. Additionally, although national statements to Rio Conventions share common ground on measures to address deforestation, they are poorly mainstreamed into national policies and broader development policies at national level. The agricultural policy’s focus on expanding agricultural land by providing fiscal incentives and subsidised credit provides incentives for deforestation, indicating negative horizontal interaction with the forest policy, while the mutually supportive link through conservation farming is poorly developed. A more holistic landscape management approach would be useful to bridge sectoral divides. A research contribution to the evidence and knowledge base for forests and rural livelihoods is made by this thesis, and empirical findings are detailed on how socio-economic differentiation affects contribution of Miombo FPES to total livelihood portfolios and household incomes. This analysis feeds into broader debates on forest conservation and development by linking FPES and livelihood strategies, which is important in designing long-term forest management strategies and providing national/international policy guidance for similar socio-economic contexts. This study further provides new understanding of the opportunity that carbon storage can bring to increasing financial gains from ecosystem services in local communities who practice slash and burn cultivation and charcoal production, once the carbon stores/changes in the recovery trajectory are established and monitoring schemes initiated. This study makes an applied contribution to forest-based climate change mitigation initiatives such as REDD+ debates by providing a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges of its implementation in view of Miombo woodland use for livelihoods, improved ecological understanding and current policy discourses that converge in the forest sector.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-669-1
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605295
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 May 2014 09:46
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2016 14:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5873

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