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DR Congo: Ibi Batéké Degraded Savannah Afforestation Project
(Biocarbon Fund Tranche 2)

UNFCCC Reference No.: 4176

Project Photo 1
The impact of reforestation activities is changing the landscape

On the Batéké plateau in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ecosystem is composed of dry forest, which resulted from an abrupt climatic change towards drier conditions about 3,000 years ago. About 90% of the plateau is covered by more or less wooded savannah, characterized by grass or shrubby growth. The lands are subject to uncontrolled degradation/deforestation due to charcoal production and subsistence agriculture. The savannah is overrun several times a year by fires, generally originating from anthropogenic causes (accidental or deliberate fires for hunting purposes). The fire events impede the encroachment and successful growth of woody plants, particularly trees.

The Project:
The Ibi Batéké Degraded Savannah Afforestation Project is converting 4,200 hectares of natural grassy savannah into an abundant and sustainable fuelwood supply for charcoal production. The project is leading the local population and farmers to stop the destruction of the natural forests and to concentrate on planting managed forests.  The degraded lands are being transformed into a managed forest of acacia, eucalyptus and indigenous species that will 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, the project promoter NOVACEL wishes to integrate agricultural, livestock and forest productions 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 the AFD (French Development Agency) are financing part of the investment needs for the project.  UNEP’s CASCADe program is providing technical assistance. 

Project Photo 2
Nursery work is generating local employment
Environmental Benefits:
By generating income for local communities and producing charcoal from the plantation, the project is reducing the deforestation of the remaining forest galleries, generally used to make charcoal. As a result, it is reducing soil erosion, mitigating water loss from runoff, and sequestering carbon dioxide. The project is also avoiding bush fires and their associated negative impacts on soils and ecosystems. In the long term, the sustainably-managed plantations will provide shelter to wildlife and improve biodiversity.

Social and Community Benefits:
The project is enhancing 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.


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