Zimbabwe to commemorate International Day of Forest in biodiversity rich, Muzarabani

– Zimbabwe’s forests contain 492 million metric tons of carbon in living forest biomass hence forest conservation is essential.

John Cassim

HARAR, ZIMBABWE – The International Day of Forests, is commemorated each year on the 21st of March following a United Nations proclamation in 2012.

Zimbabwe joins the world in these commemorations with an awareness event in Muzarabani 295km north of the capital Harare.

According to the Forestry Commission Spokesperson, Violet Makoto, the commemorations will be done on the 22nd of March.

“The day is commemorated on the 21st of March but as a country we shall be commemorating on the 22nd a day after.

This is an important day for the country as we will be celebrating the natural resource that has a lot of benefits for us as human beings, economically, ecologically and socio-culturally from the various services that forests provide,” Violet told ConserveZim.

Violet admitted that Zimbabwe, like any other country in the region, is facing some challenges like deforestation as human activities like farming, mining and commercial firewood sells, are affecting rehabilitation efforts.

Some of the challenges include the cutting down of indigenous trees in a bid to cure tobacco, the sale of firewood amid electricity shortages and veld fires that destroy thousands of hectares of forests each year.

On a positive note, days like this have helped raise awareness of sustainable management of forests in Zimbabwe.

 Muzarabani is a biodiversity rich area, ranging from the indigenous tree species that are only found in the area and the wildlife that is also rife there. 

“This year’s theme is ‘Health Forest for Healthy People’ as it talks of the cleaning of the air, the cleaning of the water, habitat for wildlife and the medicines from the tree roots and tree bark,” Violet added.

According to the United Nations FAO, 2012 report, 40.4% or about 15,624,000 hectares of Zimbabwe is forested. 

Of this 5.1% (801,000) is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest. 

Planted forest constitute 108,000 hectares in Zimbabwe.

Between 1990 and 2010, Zimbabwe lost an average of 327,000 hectares or 1.48% per year, a total of 29.5% of its forest cover, or around 6,540,000 hectares.

Zimbabwe’s forests contain 492 million metric tons of carbon in living forest biomass

In Biodiversity and Protected Areas, Zimbabwe has 1103 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. 

Of these, 0.9% are endemic, as they exist only in Zimbabwe, and a further 2.2% are threatened species.

Zimbabwe boast of being home to at least 4440 species of vascular plants, of which 2.1% are endemic 

Under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 7.9% of Zimbabwe is protected.

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