Region 3 covers Northern, Luapula, Copperbelt, and NorthWestern provinces, and parts of Serenje and Mkushi. It is part of the degraded Central African plateau. Mean annual rainfall exceeds 1000 mm with a growing season that varies from 120 to 150 days. Crop production is limited by fewer sunshine hours. The mean daily temperature in the growing season ranges from 16°C to 25°C.

The soils are highly weathered and leached, with pH levels of less than 4.5 and very low reserves of primary minerals. They are usually deficient in P, N, and other major plant nutrients and some micronutrients. The low soil pH and the associated high levels of aluminum and manganese are often toxic to plant growth. Soil physical properties, however, are favorable. Soils are microstructurally stable and deep, and possess well-drained profiles as well as high levels of biological activity.

The vegetation of Region 3 is broadly divided into miombo and a mixture of chipya and dry evergreen forest. The miombo — a two-storied woodland with an open or lightly closed canopy of semideciduous trees 15 to 21 m high — is characterized by species of Brachystegia, Julbernardia, and Isoberlina (Fanshawe, 1969).

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