Integrating wildlife management and forestry in Zambia
Mbizi Farm in Eastern Zambia is one of those rare businesses that successfully integrates wildlife management with commercial forestry management objectives.
The 17 000ha estate, which employs nearly 50 people from surrounding communities, provides a personalised safari experience to visitors from around the world.
The mixed Mopani woodlands in which the farm is situated contains many tree species that are of significant importance to local communities for their fuel and other needs. Many of these tree species also have significant commercial value and about 2 400 m3 of Mopani, Kiaat, Pod Mahogany and Mukosa timber is harvested annually and processed at the Mbizi Sawmill for the production of export planks and other timber products.
The farm is FSC certified and as such provides assurance that it is managed in a responsible and sustainable manner.
This is a first for the Mopani ecoregion which covers extensive areas in Eastern Africa, and is home to an abundance of wildlife including elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion and many other species.
New machines and technologies have been introduced at Mbizi to ensure low impact selective harvesting of the trees is conducted in terms of forest management plans that allow for the sustainable use of the woodlands and forests. Mbizi is also serving as a model for other local operations to opt for sustainable forest certification through the Afzelia Group Scheme.
Mbizi Farm is traversed by the Luangwa river which is an important water resource for farms and villages across eastern Zambia. Responsible management of this farm ensures that it will continue to provide valuable ecosystem services to surrounding communities.
Mbizi Farm is managed and owned by two Swedes, Michael de Gre-Dejestam and Lennart Packendorff. It is one of the first FSC certificates in Africa, and probably the world, where the management of wildlife is fully integrated with commercial forest management objectives.