Desertification in Zimbabwe



Forestry Commission allays fears of desertification

The Forestry Commission has allayed desertification fears in the country saying it has managed to strike a balance between deforestation and afforestation.

BY Stephen Chadenga

Over the years, there have been fears from different stakeholders that parts of the country, particularly the southern region would turn into a desert.

“We have two different extremes, one where people are aware of the importance of trees and are actually planting them,” Makoto said on the sidelines of a consultative workshop for the first draft of the National Forest Policy in Gweru yesterday.

“On the other hand, we have economic hardships forcing people to resort to forests as sources of energy. But whatever is happening we are managing to strike a balance between what we are losing (through deforestation) and what we are putting back into the environment.”

The forestry policy seeks, among other things, to provide a basis for the crafting of forestry regulations that are consistent and comprehensive for the long-term sustainable use of forests and for the participation of people who depend on forests for their livelihoods.

Makoto said a major factor, contributing to deforestation were energy challenges the country was facing, which forces the majority of people in urban and rural setups to resort to firewood as a source of energy.

Read the full story: NewsDay

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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