HTML Document Chapter 2: Biodiversity Conservation and Management in Zambia

This chapter details the conservation and management of biological diversity in Zambia.

A. Values and uses of biodiversity
B. Sharing of Benefits from Biodiversity Use
C. Biodiversity management in Zambia

Release date 23/03/2006
Contributor Nkula Mwanza
Geographical coverage Zambia, Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, Luapula, Northern Province, Copperbelt, Mongu, Eastern, Kasama

A. Values and uses of biodiversity

2.1 Biodiversity plays critical roles in the healthy functioning of ecosystems. These roles include nutrient and water cycling, land protection from erosion, climate stabilization through carbon sequestration and the production of crops through pollination. Forests are an important sink for carbon dioxide. In Southern Africa, Zambia has one of the highest pool of carbon in its forests/woodlands (Figure 2) but annual forest loss is poorly known. Plants also provide habitats for animals while animals play a crucial role in regeneration of plants through seed dispersal and germination.

2.2 Biological resources support livelihoods of the majority of the rural population in Zambia. Forests provide ash fertiliser for shifting cultivation, timber, energy, household tools and construction materials. Wild plants and animals are important sources of food, especially during famine. Medicines and other valuable chemical products are obtained from both plantsand animals.

2.3 The total contribution of biodiversity to national economy in Zambia is not known because the value of most activities based on the use of biodiversity is not reflected in national accounts. Nevertheless, the contribution of agriculture, forestry and fishing to GDP was 17.2 percent in 1996 and 16 percent in 1997. A sector-based analysis shows that biodiversity utilisation plays a significant role in the national economy. For example, the charcoal industry employs about 450,000 people in production, distribution and marketing. In 1993 revenue from wildlife-based tourism was estimated at US$52 million which represented about 5.4 percent of Zambia's export earnings. These figures represent a narrow window through which the value of biodiversity resources to national economy is currently perceived.

B. Sharing of Benefits from Biodiversity Use

2.4 Over the years, the change of property rights regimes from one form to another has affected the way in which benefits accruing from biodiversity use has been distributed. Property rights have generally moved from communal in the pre-colonial period, to state and private ownership in the colonial and post-independence era. The replacement of communal ownership of biological and other resources, by state and private ownership, which saw the government encroaching into customary land to develop forests, wildlife and water resources was based on the premise that the govemment could share the benefits more appropriately.

2.5 Thus, the state could expropriate surpluses by taxing resource users, and redistributing benefits to the populace (and especially to the cities). This kind of arrangement meant that the control by local communities over common properties had no  room. However, no compensation was made to the communities for loss of subsistence and livelihood that used to come from the areas declared as National Parks and Forest Reserves.

2.6 The advancement of technology world over also contributed to the rampant inequity in the sharing of benefits arising from use of biodiversity. The powerful social segments, more especially those from urban areas, have access to natural resources from wide catchment, suffering few of the negative consequences of environmental degradation and erosion of biodiversity. Instead the ones who suffer the negative consequences are the communities who leave in the areas affected. For instance, game licences are mostly bought by the rich in urban areas. These go to slaughter animals in the face of helpless villagers who suffer the consequences of crop damage by the animals with no compensation. This inequitable sharing of benefits from the use of biological resources tends to promote opportunistic over-exploitation of resources by local communities. Under the Administrative management Design for Wildlife Management (ADMADE) programme in the wildlife sector, the sharing of revenue from the use of wild animals with local communities was neither well understood nor transparent enough to the local communities. The ADMADE institutmns were seen to be creations of government for managing natural resources on behalf of the local people. This perception by the local people reduced the sense of ownership of the programme by the majority of the local communities.

2.7 The ADMADE concept of sharing of benefits is now spreading through Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) programmes for other sectors such as forestry and fisheries.

C. Biodiversity Management in Zambia

Management Regimes

2.8 Protected areas and in-situ conservation. The protected area system in Zambia consists of National Parks, bird sanctuaries, GMAs, game ranches, forest and botanical reserves and national heritage sites.

2.9 National Parks were established by government primarily for the conservation of biodiversity. There are 19 national parks in Zambia and these cover a total area of 6.358 million ha. Sustainable use of wildlife and its habitats in national parks is promoted through eco-tourism while settlements and hunting are prohibited.

2.10 Bird sanctuaries have the same status as National Parks but are usually smaller in size. There are two bird sanctuaries in the country.

2.11 Game management areas were established by government to control the hunting of game and protected animals through a licensing and monitoring system. There are 34 GMAs in Zambia which cover a total of 16.57 million ha. Because other forms of land use, such as settlements and agriculture are allowed, GMAs are not strictly protected areas.

2.12 Game ranches support both consumptive and non-consumptive uses of wildlife. There are 28 game ranches in Zambia that have been established by the private sector. Because of the substantial economic benefits derived from game ranching, a number of commercial farmers have opted for game ranching. Game ranching has therefore significantly contributed to biodiversity conservation, especially of rare and endangered animal species. Currently 26 species, mainly of the ungulate group, are conserved in game ranches.

2.13 Forest Reserves were established by government to conserve forest resources for sustainable use by local people in the case of local forests and to protect major catchment areas and biodiversity in the case of national forests. There are 432 Forest Reserves in Zambia which cover a total of 7.4 million ha. Settlements and cultivation are .normally notpermitted in Forest Reserves while removal of any plant is only permissible under license.

 2.14 Botanical reserves were established by government for three objectives, namely; (i) to preserve some relic vegetation types and/or plant species; (ii) to act as sources of germplasm for multiplication and breeding programmes; and, (iii) to act as reference sites in determining human impacts on forest ecosystems outside the reserve. There are 59 botanical reserves in Zambia which cover a total area of 148,000 ha.

2.15 Ex-situ Conservation. The approach to ex-situ biodiversity conservation in Zambia has involved the establishment of botanical gardens, herbaria and gene banks. Munda Wanga botanical garden near Lusaka maintains a collection of both indigenous and exotic plants but the condition of the gardens has been poor due to lack of maintenance. There are a number of herbaria in the country but the larger ones include the Forest Department herbarium in Kitwe, Mt Makulu herbarium and the University of Zambia herbarium in Lusaka. The national plant genetic resources centre at Mt Makulu was established to promote the conservation of plant genetic resources at the national level. The centre has 4570 seed samples collected from different parts of the country. Until now priority has been given to major food crops

2.16 Indigenous Conservation Practices. Given a diversity of traditional systems among the seventy-three tribes in Zambia, various indigenous methods of conservation of biological and other resources exist. Traditionally, customary laws enabled people to develop management systems that acted as controls in the exploitation of natural resources. For instance, almost all the tribes in Zambia believed in the preservation of vegetation around traditional burial grounds as a way of respecting the dead. In this way, some piece of land was left almost undisturbed and were centres of great diversity in terms of biological resources. Similarly, seasonal bans in exploitation of resources especially fish, birds and animals were imposed in almost all the cultures, based on the understanding of the life cycles. Thus, allowing time for the breeding to take place in order to sustain the productivity of these resources.

2.17 The beneficial traditional conservation and wise use practices were accompanied and enforced by traditional institutions and political systems. The most important being the institution of chiefs, village headmen and heads of family households. The chiefs in collaboration with the village headmen played an instrumental role in administering some of the beneficial traditional conservation practices. At the household level, it was the duty of heads of households to  onscientise young members of their families in the observance of these practices.

2.18 However, it should be noted that the colonial intervention which alienated communities from their resource base not only contributed to the destruction of most of these environmentally beneficial practices but also introduced deleterious practices to the environment. The expropriation of natural resources removed the need to continue with conservation practices. In some instances a 'scorched earth policy' was adopted in defiance to official regulation. Similarly, the colonial policy of confining local communities to much reduced tribal reserve/ands contributed to serious environmental degradation. The results of such colonial maneuvers are very evident in the Southern Province where large tracts of land were alienated for white settlers and commercial agriculture. Though these conservation and wise use practices have been extensively modified by external influences such as colonialism, the traditional practices still reflect these in the conservation of plants and animals.

2.19 Community-Based Management Systems. Some of the positive aspects of indigenous conservation practices discussed above are now being resuscitated through the concept of CBNRM which emphasized participation of communities in natural resources management. Community participation in natural resource management is based on anumber of principles. Some of the important ones are given in Box 3.

2.20 CBNRM principles have mainly found their niche in the Wildlife sector where community participation seems indispensable given the interaction of people and animals. Wildlife competes for space with many other land uses some of which have conflicting objectives. Because of intense human pressures on wildlife management, especially intensified poaching National Parks and Wildlilb Services (NPWS) adopted a community participation approach to the conservation of wildlife known as ADMADE. The objectives being management of wildlife and to share revenue generated from utilization of wildlife with the communities involved in the management process. This wildlife management strategy _radually grew from a pilot project to a national program.

2.21 The principle has been expanded to most of Zambia's GMAs including the Wetland Conservation Program supported by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Luangwa Integrated Resource Development Project (LIRDP) supported by Norwegian International Development Agency (NORAD) and the up_er Zambezi Wetlands and Natural Resources Management Programme Supported by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - The World Conservation Union. It has now become part of government policy for managing wildlife approved by Cabinet in 1993 (GRZ, 1994]. This is in recognition of the strength of the ADMADE principle which respect local people as the best custodians of wildlife and other renewable resources on their land. The ADMADE program has income generating activities and a revenue sharing strategy with the communities. Revenue is generated from the hunting industry and collected by the NPWS licensing unit.

Management Instruments

2.22 Policies, Institutional and Legislative Framework at National Level.  Zambia has had a long history in the conservation of its biological resources as evidenced by its numerous legislative provisions. A recent survey carried out during the stock taking exercise indicates that the country has more than thirty legislative instruments that address conservation issues or the protection of the quality of the environment (MENR, 1998b). Most of these were enacted more than thirty years ago. While some of them have been reviewed several times over the years (eg. Wildlife Act), some remain in their original format (eg. Water Act of 1949). Related to most of these pieces of legislation are policies together with designated institutions to administer the individual Acts. The following are some of the components of biodiversity with related legislation, policies and institutions for their management;

(i)Forestry. The current Forestry Policy was adopted in July 1998 after a review of the one developed in 1969 (GRZ, 1998) .  The policy aims at increasing the country's forest cover and simultaneously meet the growing local needs for fuel wood, fodder, timber and minor forest products. It advocates for participatory Joint Forest Management in which the local communities collaborates with Government Agencies and the private sector in the protection, management and utilisation of forest resources.

The goals of forestry management in Zambia include:

a)To put in place effective forest management systems and operating resources.

b)To formulate and implement appropriate forest policies and programmes for
    Sustainable management and use of forest resources

b)    To promote participatory management and use of sustainable forests such that all stakeholders including, men, women and children take active and sustained interest in effective conservation, production, management and utilisation of the nation’s forest resources.

In line with this new policy, the forest Act, Cap 199 of 1973 has recently undergone review.  The Forest Act, 1999 provides for among others;

•    the establishment of the Zambia Forestry Commission to replace the Forestry Department as the administrative body for the Act
•    the participation of local communities traditional institutions, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders in sustainable forest management.
•    The conservation and sustainable use of forests and trees for the management of forest ecosystems and biological diversity
•    The implementation of CBD and other related conventions.

(ii) Wildlife.  The Wildlife Policy, 1993 provides for the establishment, control and management of National Parks and for the conservation, protection and enhancement of wildlife ecosystems biodiversity GRZ 1994a. The Policy addresses issues pertaining to opportunities for the equitable and sustainable use of the special qualities of National Parks and GMAs. The policy also provides for the conservation of wildlife including those species that may sometimes be in conflict with human interests to ensure that these assets are never squandered for any short-term human gains for any purpose that is not in conformity  with the principle of environmentally sound sustainable development.

From this Policy  emanated the Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998 which provides for the establishment of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) with the following functions -

a)    controlling, managing, conserving, protecting and administering  National Parks, GMAs, bird and wildlife sanctuaries;

b)    sharing with local communities the responsibilities of management through the preparation and implementation of management plans for National Parks, GMAs, bird and wildlife sanctuaries;

c)    adopting methods that ensure the sustainability, conservation and preservation in the natural state of ecosystems and biodiversity in the National Parks, GMAs, and bird and wildlife sanctuaries and to ensure the proper balance between the sustainable use of wildlife and the management of ecosystems in these areas;

d)    enhancing the economic and social well being of local communities in GMAs;

e)    granting hunting concessions in partnership with local communities to hunting outfitters and tour operators; and

f)    assisting and advising the Community Resources Boards in the management of human and natural resources in GMAs and in areas that fall under their jurisdiction.

The Wildlife Policy has shortcomings in relation to identifying and prioritising the relevant ecosystems and natural resources, which require special care and management methods.

Implementation of the Wildlife Policy is the responsibility of the Department of NPWS in the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) which is soon to be replaced by the ZAWA.

(iii)    Agriculture.  Agriculture policies at national level are based on a  Policy Framework to the year 2000 adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) to formulate the Agriculture Sector Investment Programme (ASIP)  whose implementation started in 1996. This policy framework provides clear policy goals and strategies aimed at creating an enabling environment for increased private sector participation in the agricultural sector (GRZ, 1992).  ASIP aims at facilitating and supporting the development of a sustainable and competitive agricultural sector that ensures food security at national and household levels and to maximise the sector’s contribution to the national GDP.

Among the major  shortcome of the policy framework is its vagueness in spelling out measures  for conservations and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity.  It further fails to address benefits for environmentally sound farming practices.  As a result in part a new policy is being drafted.

Currently, MAFF is responsible for the administration of 33 separate pieces of legislation. However, only a few of them have direct bearing on the conservation and management of biodiversity, the main one being the Agricultural Lands Act, Cap 187 of 1960.

(iv)    Fisheries.  The country's policy on the conservation and management of fisheries resources is enshrined in the Agricultural Policy Framework of 1990. The Fisheries Act Cap 200 of 1974 seeks to protect fish resources from unsustainable exploitation and to regulate the fishing industry. Under this Act the Government is committed to ensuring that the Fisheries sector continues to make maximum contribution to the national economy so that it improves nutrition, generates income and creates remunerative employment.

The Fisheries Policy, however, does not cover issues of community participation, threatened or endangered species and biological diversity. These deficiencies are being addressed under a new bill soon to be made law. The new Act will among other things provide for the following:

a)    the establishment of control and management of commercial fishery areas

b)          conservation and protection of aquatic biodiversity

c)          the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources

d)     ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising from the exploitation of fisheries    resources to local communities   

Implementation of the Fisheries Policy is the responsibility of the MAFF.

(v)    Overall Environmental and Natural Resources Management.  Zambia’s environmental policy can be traced back to the National Conservation Strategy (NCS) of 1985 (GRZ, 1985).  The NCS’s objectives were to;

•    Ensure sustainable use of Zambia’s renewable natural resources;
•    Maintain Zambia’s biodiversity; and,
•    Maintain essential ecological processes and life support systems.

The NCS recommended among, other things, strategies for involving communities in natural resources management including decentralisation and capacity building.  It also recommended the enactment of a principal environmental legislation, which later became known as the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control (EPPC) Act.  The EPPC  Act was enacted in 1990.

The EPPC Act provides for the establishment of the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) whose functions  include:

a)      providing advice to the government on formulation  of  policies relating to good management of natural resources and the environment;

b)      recommending to the government measures aimed at controlling pollution;

c)     coordinating the activities of all Ministries and other bodies concerned with the protection of the environment and pollution control;

d)       advising on co-operation between nations and international organisations on
           environmental issues;

e)    advising on the need for and embarking upon general educational programmes for creating awareness in the protection and improvement of the environment; and,

f)    identifying, promoting and advising the government on projects likely to further conservation for sustainable  development 

In 1994, the NCS was updated through the preparation and adoption of the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP).  The overall objective of the NEAP was to integrate environmental concerns into the social and economic development planning process in Zambia GRZ, 1994b.  The NEAP process document was prepared through a rigorous analysis of environmental and natural resources sectoral issues in the country.  The NEAP process identified major areas of environmental concern which were used to prepare sectoral plans in support of biodiversity conservation.

2.23    International Conventions: The CBD.  Apart from legislation and policies at national level, conservation and management of biodiversity in Zambia has been influenced by international law and policy in support of biodiversity conservation and management.  The principal influence among the international conventions comes form the CBD which Zambia ratified on 28 May 1993.  Further information on the CBD is given in Box 4.

2.24    Zambia recognises the significance of the CBD objectives and obligations and has therefore used the Convention as an opportunity to try and  integrate these objectives into on-going national policies, plans and programmes. Some of these programmes include the Environmental Support Programme (ESP), the Zambia Forestry Action Programme (ZFAP), the Provincial Forestry Action Programme (PFAP) and ASIP.

2.25 Other International Conventions and Regional Initiatives. Apart from being a party to the CBD, Zambia is also a party to other international conventions that deal with specific aspects of biodiversity such as the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (also known as Ramsar Convention), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change (UNFCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa (CCD).  Under the Ramsar Convention Zambia has listed two Wetland sites namely the Kafue  and the Bangweulu flats. Zambia has also proposed the inclusion of various other potential sites on the listing. Under  CITES, Zambia has assented to the listing of several species of flora and fauna in the three Appendices of the Convention.

2.26 At the regional level, Zambia co-operates with neighbouring countries through bilateral and regional agreements to conserve and ensure sustainable management of the region’s biological resources. For example, Zambia has been co-operating with Zimbabwe on the cross border management of fish and wildlife resources along the two countries’ common border. Zambia is also co-operating with Burundi, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo in developing a joint strategy and management plan of the resources in Lake Tanganyika.
Box 4. About the CBD