Zimbabwe is losing forest resources at an average of approximately 262 000 hectares per annum, the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has revealed.
This loss has been attributed to agricultural expansion and other related activities according to the ministry.
Cognisant of this, the ministry has called on Zimbabweans to value forests which are rendered a less valuable natural asset as demonstrated by various threats they face across the world and in the country.
Norah Takaendesa, the ministry’s communications manager said this while addressing communities in Mashonaland Central province during the International Day of Forests commemorations in Muzarabani last Friday.
She was representing minister Nqobizitha Ndhlovu during the celebrations held under the theme ‘Forests and Health highlighting the critical role that forests play in ensuring the health of humanity’.
Humanity currently faces multiple threats which include food insecurity, climate change, and biodiversity loss, all related to environmental degradation.
“My message is that communities, let’s make better use of forests and trees to conserve biodiversity, provide for our well-being and generate income to sustain our livelihoods,” she said.
Communities in Dande Valley were commended to continue engaging in conservation efforts through the Zambezi Valley Biodiversity Project (GEF6 funded).
Through its various components, it has created an enabling environment for landscape restoration with the goal of planting 2.2 million trees.
It also encompasses wildlife conservation and enhancement of communities through the expansion of livelihoods and it is therefore imperative that Zimbabweans devote more effort to halting and reversing deforestation.
Forests provide medicines, human and wildlife habitats, food, clean air, and many other things that contribute to the livelihoods of human beings.
Records say, the world has lost approximately 420 million hectares of forests since 1990 and deforestation is continuing at the rate of about 10 million hectares yearly. Nhau/Indaba