May 29, 2007

Deforestation Causes Concern in Zimbabwe

Deforestation causes concern in Zimbabwe

HARARE, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The destruction of forests in Zimbabwe is accelerating desertification, an official has said.

The Environment Education and Publicity Manager for the Environmental Management Agency Philip Manyaza was quoted by ZBC News on Wednesday as saying that while efforts have been made to educate the public on the importance of indigenous trees the country continues to lose forest areas as people are cutting down trees indiscriminately.

With the current power outages, wood poachers especially from Harare are recording brisk business from the sale of firewood and this has put the forests under threat as vast areas have been cut down.

Environmental Management Agency education and publicity manager Philip Manyaza said the over-exploitation of forests and degradation of woodlands in the urban areas has continued for the past six years and urbanization has also contributed significantly to deforestation.

In view of the alarming rate of deforestation in rural areas the government initiated a rural afforestation program which is being done by the Forestry Commission but the same program has not started in urban and peri- urban areas.

Environmentalists say with the strict electricity rationing to cope with the ongoing power shortages there is need to have aggressing ways of fighting the destruction of forests.

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