Carbon and the commons in the Zambezi teak (Baikiaea plurijuga, Harms) forests of western Zambia : sustainable forest management for commodity and community
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This study attempted a holistic synthesis of the problems of Sustainable Development (SD) and Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in the dry deciduous forests of south western Zambia. There are scale-based implications across the entire range of actions required for SFM and REDD+ implementation in tropical forests. Addressing scale mismatches in ecological, social and socio-ecological systems is essential and may help resolve epistemological differences in interdisciplinary research. The importance of local context to SD and SFM supported a case study approach to the social-ecological system. Leaf phenology shows regional variation in deciduousness and varies spatially on a local scale. This highlights the need for researching the eco-physiological source of this variation to assess the effects of climate change on forest phenology. Livelihood analysis in forest communities showed that high levels of social and natural capital confer community resilience to climate change. Land use change was mapped between 1975 and 2005. Zambezi Teak forests decreased in area by 54% between 1975 and 2005. However, changes in area weighted Above Ground Biomass (AGB) are negligible because Zambezi Teak forests are replaced by other woody vegetation. The differences in AGB between plot-based field measurements of AGB and published global biomass maps mean that these maps are not useful for REDD+ projects at the project scale (~10,000 ha). Governance arrangements for Zambezi Teak forests differ between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although the forests in Zimbabwe have an age structure skewed towards smaller age classes than forests in Zambia, possibly indicating a recovery from logging, this study has not accounted for other covariates which determine forest condition. This research emphasises the importance of case studies for building a global database for inclusion in a meta-analysis, and for the contextual focus which a holistic approach brings to the action-based agenda at the heart of SD and SFM.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Print and electronic copy restricted until 4th November 2016
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations