Mitigation options to reduce soil C loss consist of maintaining existing stocks and expanding C sinks as described below.
Forest protection and conservation, and increased efficiency in forest management, and in harvesting and utilization of forest products are the main ways to maintain existing stocks. Measures in this category aim to increase biomass stocks so as to reduce the current deficit. These measures are expected to increase forest land area (or biomass stocks) by 42,000 ha (2 million metric tons) by 2010 and 10 million ha (516 million metric tons) by 2030. Reduced land clearing for agricultural purposes and timber and wood fuel production can also contribute to maintenance of existing stocks (Chidumayo and Chidumayo, 1984).
Enhanced natural regeneration and reforestation in Zambia can increase C sequestration. The high rate of forest land clearing that has occurred over time has left substantial pieces of land bare. This land can be replanted with trees. Using carefully selected exotic species to establish plantations offers a mechanism for rehabilitation of damaged lands and for increasing SOC accumulation (Lugo and Brown, 1993). Areas cleared for wood fuel, for example, can be successfully regenerated if proper management is undertaken to aid coppicing stumps. In degraded or damaged lands, rehabilitation can begin with the establishment of grasses and pastures. The plants that modify site conditions do not preclude tree establishment, and immediately favor SOC accumulation (Lugo and Brown, 1993). Proper control of forest fires is also considered important.
Under natural regeneration, it is estimated that 24,000 ha can effectively be regenerated by 2005 (CEEEZ, 1999). This figure is about half the current estimated annual forest land area cleared for charcoal production. It is estimated, however, that effective natural regeneration will cover 7 million ha by 2030.
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