World Rainforest Movement

Zimbabwe: Tree plantations to accrue greenhouse gases emissions credits

In last month WRM bulletin Nº 125, and linked to the 12th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007, we warned about some decisions of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board that might attract more tree plantation projects to the CDM –such as the removal of restrictions that prevent providing a perverse incentive to cut down forests to replace them with CDM sponsored monocultures, and theincrease of the size of tree planting projects that can apply to the CDM under simplified procedures and with fewer requirements to assess social and environmental impacts.

The announced trend seems to be reaching Zimbabwe.

Last news appearing in The Herald, 11 January 2008, announce that “The Zimbabwe Government has started receiving enquiries from investors in industrialised countries that want to accrue greenhouse gases emissions credits under the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an official said this week.”

According to the newspaper, the source said that “Investors had expressed interest in implementing afforestation and reforestation projects in such areas as Murehwa, Mutoko and Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe in Mashonaland Central Province”.

The Zimbabwe Parliament voted on December 6 last year unanimously to approve ratification of the protocol, and before and after ratification enquiries started coming.

The Zimbabwean government seems fully engaged in the carbon trade and enthusiastic about the short term foreign currency it would earn from giving away huge tracts of land to plantations of exotic and indigenous trees that would sell as carbon credits. The Herald reports that a tonne of saved carbon dioxide currently sells at between five and seven euros.

Such chrematistic estimations have proved fairly wrong for the peoples whose livelihoods depend on the land and the water. Unless we stop the flood of monoculture tree plantations over agricultural lands, forests, wetlands, it will sadly also prove wrong for the entire planet in a not so far future.

(1) ‘Country to Reap Investment From Protocol’, The Herald (Harare), 11 January 2008,