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Zimbabwe loses 330 000h of forestry every year – WWF

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Zimbabwe loses 330 000h of forestry every year – WWF

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Simbarashe Mtembo

Mirror Reporter

Masvingo – Zimbabweans must do a lot more to conserve trees as the country is losing 330 000 hectares of forestry every year, Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) country director for Zimbabwe, Dr Enos Shumba has said.

Speaking in an interview with The Mirror during the national walkathon organised by Friends of the Environment and Nyaradzo on Friday last week Dr Shumba said Zimbabwe is 40% forests but 330 000 hectares are lost every year due to agricultural activities and the use of wood as a source of energy and for development purposes.

Dr Shumba who brought eight of his staffers to participate in the walkathon hailed Friends of the Environment for not only conscientising the public on the need to re-green the country but for getting involved in planting trees through establishing nurseries.

“We are seeing major deforestation through agricultural extension and the use of wood as a source of energy. Forests are also destroyed for purposes of development because a lot of development is based on forestry. Zimbabwe has done a lot of work in terms of conservation and WWF is here to support the walkathon and tree planting activities by way of funding and also participating in the walk,” said Dr Shumba.

The 105km walkathon took place from Gokomere Mission in Masvingo to Gwindingwi High School at Nyika Growth Point.

WWF have many projects it is carrying out in Zimbabwe to conserve the environment and the organisation’s other key area is wildlife. Human, wildlife conflicts are a major challenge for conservation and therefore there is need to incentivize communities to value wild animals by embarking on projects that allow people to benefit from animals, said Dr Shumba.

“Zimbabwe has also done a lot to conserve wildlife and WWF is doing a number of programmes to support this initiative. We support projects where communities benefit from their wildlife. The programmes are done through communities and partners.

“Zimbabwe is also a major producer of food and as the population grows we encroach into natural areas and the focus therefore is how do we balance food production and nature conservation. There has therefore projects that we support around that area and we call them agro-ecology balancing,” said Dr Shumba.

WWF is found in 100 countries throughout the World and its mandate is environmental conservation. In Zimbabwe it was founded in 1984. Dr Shumba walked 45km of the 105km walkathon distance.

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