Biochar from Namibian Encroacher Bush
Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation
Namibia is subject to bush encroachment on a massive scale. The phenomenon currently affects up to 45 million hectares of farmland in 11 of the country’s 14 political regions which amount to up to 50 percent of Namibia’s land area. Bush encroachment has reduced the country’s rangeland production capacity by up to two thirds in the past decades. It has further resulted in a loss of biodiversity and limited groundwater recharge in the affected areas.
Despite the negative impacts, the encroacher bush is an enormous natural resource, estimated at more than 400 million tonnes of sustainably harvestable biomass. Measures to combat bush encroachment create opportunities for the Namibian economy, such as the use of the resource for power generation and value chain development in other sectors. Bush thinning, therefore, offers the potential to increase agricultural productivity, economic growth, employment and energy security without competing with food production.
Taking these opportunities into account, the Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation project aims to promote the sustainable utilisation of bush biomass, thereby contributing to rangeland restoration and economic development in Namibia. The bilateral project is commissioned by BMZ and is implemented by GIZ in cooperation with the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism from 2018 until 2021.