Kapeya bemoans deforestration

MINISTER of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Mwansa Kapeya has bemoaned high rates of deforestation in the country estimated at 250,000 to 300,000 hectares per annum.
Mr Kapeya attributed this to factors like illegal harvesting, uncontrolled charcoal production and inadequate technical and monitoring staff members.
He said this is evidenced by the number of bags of charcoal piled up by road sides and trucks ferrying timber and charcoal.
Mr Kapeya said without concrete measures put in place to ensure sustainable forest management and subsequent forest conservation, the country risks becoming a desert as a result of the high rates of deforestation.
Mr Kapeya said this in Lusaka during a Zambia Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (ZPPC) discussion under the theme, ‘Conservation Priorities and Partnerships: A Way Forward’.
“Government’s commitment to sustainable forest management is through ensuring that there is appropriate policy and legal framework governing sustainable management, including utilisation of forest resources to the benefit of all Zambians particularly rural communities that are highly dependent on these resources,” he said.
Mr Kapeya said the country needs to protect forest resources for the benefit of the current and future generations.
He also said sustainable forest management and conservation requires commitment by all citizens in an integrated manner.
ZPPC was launched on May 14, 2013 with the aim of providing a platform for members of Parliament to share knowledge and information among themselves, including relevant stakeholders on issues of conservation and natural resource management.

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