Sustainable access to energy: charcoal for the poor to save biodiversity en Eastern Congo (RDC)wca2014-1482 Isabelle Vertriest 1 2,* 1International Programs, WWF, Gent, Belgium, 2ERDC programs, WWF RDC, Goma, Congo
About 40% of the global population still depends from a traditional use of biomass for energy. Wood fuel is the major source of energy in Africa. So it is in North Kivu. But, besides the agricultural practice of “Slash and burn” is extraction of wood fuel one of the main causes of degradation and encroachment of forested area. In the case of North Kivu war and wood fuel for charcoal (Makala) leads to the degradation of the Virunga World Heritage Site, about 80% of the charcoal in Goma was cut from the Park. However, charcoal is critical for the lives of the poor, not only as a source of energy but also as a potential source of income.
Thus, in order to reduce the degradation of the forests WWF adopted various strategies in North Kivu: introduction of more efficient cook stoves, and through reforestation and afforestation in the so-called pilote project Eco-Makala.
Reforesting with the small scale farmers in the surroundings of the parc has the objective to minimize the illegal harvest and restore a more balanced ecosytem.
The total estimated amount of needed reforestation is about 23.000 ha, seen the growing city of Goma (1 million of inhabitants). In the past years 5.000 ha forest are planted and 1.000 ha in agroforestry (cacao). The small scale farmers harvest already the ECOMAKALA they can use or sell. An evaluation is made and lessons to be learned. The moment is come to publish the methodology used. The farmers associations play a key role in the reforestation. WWF detected and evaluated them, put together the objectives and proposed a contract.
The associations cured the nurseries and gave the follow up to the farmers. A monitoring system was built up and a system to mesure production and carbon storage.