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North Luangwa National Park

First Listed

2022

Area
4712km2

Why is it Green Listed?

Co-managed by Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Zambia Department of National Parks and Wildlife and is home to Zambia’s only black rhino population as well as a growing African elephant population. It also forms part of one of only 10 African lion strongholds left in Africa. Four other sites in Zambia are working towards achieving IUCN Green List certification.

The park is part of the larger Luangwa Valley ecosystem in a catchment area covering 144,000 km2 , with a great deal of contrasting attributes that include the Muchinga escarpment, Luangwa valley, vegetation complexes and Luangwa River

The governance arrangements are very focused on stakeholders and their needs both socially and economically. Gender equity has clearly been a priority at the site for some time with many opportunities for women within the project both in the park and in the communities surrounding the site. Furthermore, other stakeholders are met once in a year and make the necessary recommendations for the management of the site.

We hope that Green List status will offer our funders a level of assurance of our fair and effective conservation measures and that this accreditation will result in reduced reporting to donors as well as increased opportunities to access funding over longer periods of time

Peyton West, Executive Director of the Frankfurt Zoological Society.

Key Achievements

Conservation

  • Black rhino protection – since introduction, there have been no instances of poaching and the black rhino population has achieved a compound growth rate of >5% per annum.
  • Pristine wilderness – The recent vegetation survey which did a thorough assessment of forest and eco system intactness revealed very positive results in terms of the natural state of the park with no reports of invasive species and 100% maintenance of the pristine wilderness.
  • General protection – While the reports of patrol coverage and incidents of illegal activity are restricted, it was evidenced by the EAGL during the site visit that the area has seen minimal incidents of illegal activity in the last 12 months due to intensive patrols for rhino protection. This level of protection benefits all species in the National Park.

Good governance

  • Working partnerships – While the NLCP co-management contract is in review and pending final signing by the Director General and Accountant General, it is business as usual with Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) as the board for NLCP, working as well integrated partners. Their relationships with the Community Resource Boards (CRB’s) are on a similar footing in the communities surrounding the National Park.
  • ESMS – In addition to this solid track record for stakeholder engagement, NLCP wanted to strengthen their systems around record keeping so they implemented a comprehensive Environmental Social Management System (ESMS) in February 2022. This included a thorough feedback mechanism and system to follow up and resolve complaints.
  • General Management Plan – The site’s newly approved 10 year management plan valid from 2021 – 2031 which also serves as a great example of integrated strategic planning and good governance in partnership between FZS, DNPW and other stakeholders.

Community benefits

  • CRB Tourism product ownership – This assessment coincided with the implementation of the tourism programme outlined in the General Management Plan (GMP) that has seen the construction of three self-catering tented lodges in the surrounding communities to the National Park as well as three campsites within the National Park, the proceeds of which are received by the CRB’s.
  • Infrastructure development – The CRB’s surrounding the park have received considerable infrastructure funded and delivered by NLCP. Including but not limited to:
        a. Offices
        b. Training provision
        c. Allowances for meetings
        d. Logistical support
  • Job Creation – with 193 jobs directly linked to the NLCP, most of the work force if recruited from the surrounding communities. This does not include the thousands of casual employment opportunities that arise when there are road works, fence line maintenance projects and other construction projects. It was well noted during the site assessment that the majority of homes in the community that are constructed from brick and proper roofing, were paid for from wages earned through NLCP work programmes.

Site Attributes

WDPA ID

Size
4,712.00km2

Designation(s)
Ramsar Site;Special Protection Area (Birds Directive)

IUCN Category
II - National Park

Year Established
1971

Marine Protected Area
No

Governance Type
Federal or national ministry or agency

Site Agency
Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife

Application
23/06/2021

EAGL Evaluation
19/11/2022

GL Committee Submission
22/12/2022

EAGL Chair
Vincent Nyirenda

ASI Reviewer
Etienne Kuzong

Site Summary

North Luangwa National Park is a remote tract of land covering 4,712 square kilometers and is one of the most spectacular and untamed wilderness areas in Zambia, if not Africa itself. It is home to Zambia’s only black rhino population, a growing African elephant population and forms part of one of only 10 African lion strongholds left in Africa. It further encompasses four of the six tributaries to the Luangwa River.
The park is part of the larger Luangwa Valley ecosystem in a catchment area covering 144,000 km2 , with a great deal of contrasting attributes that include the Muchinga escarpment, Luangwa valley, vegetation complexes and Luangwa River. It is accessible throughout the year by both air and road. The approximate distance to the nearest town, Mpika is 110 km. North Luangwa National Park offers a lot of opportunities for tourism growth.

1. Natural Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
1. Pristine wilderness area 2. Significant populations of fauna and the only area with a full historical species complement in the Luangwa Valley: There are significant populations of elephants, African buffaloes, hippos, lions and leopards as well as endangered, rare and endemic species for example elephant, black rhino, Cookson’s wildebeest and African wild dog 3. The high density and rich biodiversity of flora: The Luangwa Valley is listed among the world’s centres of plant diversity and NLNP has the best example of undisturbed escarpment miombo in the Valley and designated as an IUCN centre of global plant diversity
1. The pristine and large wilderness areas – Managed and monitored by law enforcement patrols - Zero tolerance for infringement of the zonation plan, approved human impact eg. Infrastructure, tourism facilities of 5% 2. The high density and rich biodiversity of flora – Managed and monitored by botanists from Botanical Gardens Kew - 0% degradation tolerance; 0% invasive species tolerance; 3. Significant populations of fauna – Black rhino is the umbrella species for monitoring the successful protection for fauna - Compound biological growth rate of >5% per annum toward maintenance of carrying capacity. 4. A major catchment area for the Luangwa River – Included in the vegetation survey is the health of the hydrology in the park which has established it is an intact hydrological system – a more extensive water monitoring programme is being launch in Dec 2022 and will provide better baseline data and monitoring of sediment, pollutants and flow rates.
1. The pristine and large wilderness areas – Good condition - There is no encroachment or human impact beyond the allowance for infrastructure development as specified in the threshold. 2. The high density and rich biodiversity of flora – Good condition – The flora survey reflects this value as stable and in the same pristine condition as it was in 1989 when the first survey was conducted. 3. Significant populations of fauna – Good condition – Using Black Rhino as the umbrella species for monitoring, a compound biological growth rate of >5% per annum toward maintenance of carrying capacity is achieved. 4. A major catchment area for the Luangwa River – Good condition – Included in the vegetation survey is the health of the hydrology in the park which has established it is an intact hydrological system – The flora survey reflects this value as stable and in the same pristine condition as it was in 1989 when the first survey was conducted. More specific data on hydrology will be generated from Dec 2022 onwards.
1. The pristine and large wilderness areas – Stable, achieving threshold for success 2. The high density and rich biodiversity of flora – Stable, achieving threshold for success 3. Significant populations of fauna – Increasing – Populations of fauna are growing 4. A major catchment area for the Luangwa River – Stable, achieving current threshold for success. Introduction of specific, dedicated water minoring programme should also provide more detailed data to support this.
2. Ecosystem Service Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Eco-Tourism – Self-drive and guided visitors to the National Park. Monitored by park entry data received at the gate by DNPW Carbon Storage - Carbon storage calculations are pending, although the vegetation survey suggests that the intact forests and hydrology will provide a large amount of carbon storage.
Eco-Tourism – Monitored through Park entry data received at the gate by DNPW – Thresholds/targets are Min - 500 per annum; Max - 1500 per annum Carbon Storage - Carbon storage calculations are pending – Thresholds cannot be generated - Data deficient, although this is also included in the monitoring programme to be launched in Dec 2022 with a view to generating some community benefits and revenues through carbon markets.
Eco-Tourism – Good condition, but needs promotion for increased utilization - Due to the focus on rhino protection in the past, eco-tourism development has not been a focus until the introduction of the new Tourism Programme as part of the GMP. While this programme is implemented, impacts will be monitored and assessed as to whether or not this is a sustainable source of revenue. Carbon Storage - Carbon storage calculations are pending – The vegetation survey reflects intact forests and hydrology, which would imply a health carbon sink, however, carbon is yet to be properly measured by experts.
Eco-Tourism – site usage is increasing with the introduction of tourism products owned by the CRBs. Carbon Storage - Carbon storage calculations are pending
3. Cultural Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Cultural heritage sites are not advertised or made available to public until a management and monitoring programme can be implemented. They are currently in their undisturbed state and are occasionally monitored by law enforcement foot patrols. Fossil site - 12° 12′ 33.764173″ S, 032° 07′ 40.977779″ E – a location where one can find fossils of ancient historical significance. Mukungule cultural shrine - 11° 48′ 13.013556″ S, 032° 04′ 57.326821″ E – A site occasionally utilized by the Mukungule community for traditional ceremonies, access sis granted on request.
Both sites are undisturbed and hardly utilized, once a more active tourism market is in place, these sites might be reviewed for promotion.
Both sites are stable and monitored for possible future promotion or use.

Conservation Summary

Pillar 1: Fair Governance
The EAGL notes that it is clear from the site visit that the relationship between the implementing partners (Frankfurt Zoological Society – FZS and Department of National Park and Wildlife – DNPW) is on a solid footing. The governance arrangements are very focused on stakeholders and their needs both socially and economically. The meeting with the CRB revealed that they are included and informed of conservation activities and that they benefit from many different initiatives aimed at Linking Landscape and Livelihoods in the communities surrounding the National Park. Gender equity has clearly been a priority at the site for some time with many opportunities for women within the project both in the park and in the communities surrounding the site. Furthermore, other stakeholders are met once in a year and make the necessary recommendations for the management of the site.
The EAGL considers that the North Luangwa National Park (NLNP) has achieved all the standards of Pillar 1 of the Green List.

Pillar 2: Robust Planning
The Management Plan for this National Park has been well compiled and thought through. It contains a thorough threat assessment and details 5 main work programs for implementation over 10 years with reviews of actions and activities every 3 years. The 5 programs are:
• Tourism provision and management program
• Security program
• Park operations program
• Natural resources management program
• Community outreach program
Many of the actions defined for these programs in the Strategic Investment Management Action Plan (SIMAP) are underway, with some still in planning and fundraising stages.
The EAGL considers that the NLNP has achieved all the standards of Pillar 2 of the Green List.

Pillar 3: Effective Management
It was very evident from the site visit that the actions from the management plan are in progress. Some of the work programs are more advanced than others; some actions are being implemented while others are actively planned for implementation.
Tourism provision and management program – We accommodated in a community camp near the park gate at Mano. This is part of the community owed tourism plan for the National Park in an effort to bring conservation linked revenues to the Community Resources Boards (CRBs). There are more of such camps at Ituba and Nabwalya.
Security program – Law enforcement efforts in this park are of a very high standard as evidenced by their very low incident rates and 100% track record for protecting black rhino since their introduction in 2003. We had the opportunity to visit the training camp where two patrol teams were receiving routine refresher training where matters, like human rights, first aid, operations protocol and more are regularly discussed. It was clear that the security program is well resourced with equipment and staff to implement their activities effectively, and there were signs of drive towards improvements, such as new recruitments and equipment.
Park operations program – A visit to the work shop at the headquarters really makes clear the scale of operations, a discussion with the workshop manager about the fleet management and road and fence upkeep was very enlightening. One can see that things are well maintained as one drives around the park with good roads and clear signage in place.
Natural resources management program – The ecological monitoring program has not been launched in full yet. The botanical browse line survey was sufficient evidence in the interim, but we look forward to the water monitoring and more detailed species counts that will be included in the monitoring framework to be launch under the USAID Hearth program.
Community outreach program– The communities are very well factored into the plans for the site and their “linking landscape and livelihoods strategy” is evident in the communities where NLCP have created different conservation linked income opportunities for community members. The EAGL considers that the NLNP has achieved all the standards of Pillar 3 of the Green List.

Pillar 4: Successful Conservation
There are a lot of conservation efforts that have been carried out by FZS and the DNPW as evident by law enforcement data, Flora studies and ecosystem intactness/ disturbance reports. However, some values such as the cultural/historical value have no monitoring program, but it is being developed and will be launched in 2023.
The EAGL considers that the NLNP has achieved all the standards of Pillar 4 of the Green List

Decision
The EAGL recommends green list certification of NLNP.

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