Kid's Corner Life and Style

Deforestation effects on human activities, animal welfare

THE rapid degradation of the ecosystem due to deforestation and encroachment on protected areas has become a global concern.
Deforestation is the clearing of trees, transforming a forest into cleared land. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches or urban use.
Lottie Katebe, who is Petauke district forestry officer, says rapid increase in population in Zambia has affected the environment, causing substantial degradation of the forests, vegetation and a general decline in soil fertility.
Mr Katebe notes that apart from the wooden poles local people in Petauke depend very much on, the forest provides wood for energy requirements such as for cooking and heating.
This has caused wood fuel deficit in these areas forcing women and children to walk long distances in search of wood fuel.
The impact of deforestation has resulted into global warming, drought, climate change and soil erosion.
Mr Katebe explained that measures have been put in place to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees such as the mulombe, pine, mukwa and mukula.
Mukula tree has been described as Zambian gold because of its valuable properties.
The mukula tree has medicinal properties and can be used for making gun butts and wooden interior décor for vehicles etc.
Mr Katebe cautioned residents of Petauke against cutting down mukula trees, adding that once caught the culprits will be prosecuted.
He says mukula tree is on high demand internationally because of its value.
Meanwhile police in Petauke say they will arrest anyone found cutting the mukula trees illegally.
Petauke district police officer-in-charge Robert Ngosa advised timber traders to follow procedures by obtaining licences if they are to cut down mukula trees.
Mr Ngosa says once detained, the culprit will appear in court, adding that the sentence will usually depend on the number of logs.
The authors of this article are members of the Children’s News Agency (CNA) Petauke Bureau.

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