Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Deforestation and its effects on human activities and animal welfare.

By Hannah Nyirenda and Anderson Zulu

The rapid degradation of the forests woodland ecosystem is also of global concern and is increasingly at risk due to deforestation and encroachment on protected areas.
Therefore deforestation means clearing of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use.

Lottie Katebe is Petauke District Forestry Officer says due to the rapid increase in population in Zambia has resulted in an increased pressure on land, causing a substantial degradation of the forests and vegetation cover of the environment and a general decline in soil fertility.

Katebe notes that apart from the wooden poles local people in Petauke depend very much on the forest for energy requirements such as cooking and heating and because of this there is wood fuel deficit in these areas causing women and children to walk long distances in search of wood fuel. 
The District Forestry Officer says the impact of deforestation has resulted into global warming, drought, climate change and soil erosion.
Katebe explained that measure have been put in place to curb all perpetrators who are cutting down trees such as Mulombe, Pine, Mukwa and Mukula tress that are being cut indiscriminately.
Mukula tree a newly discovered specie of trees described as Zambia gold has seen its worse days in terms a number of people cutting this type of a tree.
Despite its medicinal properties, the tree is also being used for making gun bats, wooden interior d├ęcor for vehicles etc. 
Katebe however warns residents of Petauke to refrain from cutting down Mukula tree adding that once the culprits are caught the law will take its course.
He says Mukula tree internationally has scope the market as it is more valuable compared to other trees.
Despite various in terventionm government has put in place through law enforcing agencies, what are the police doing in Petauke? 
Robert Ngosa Petauke District Police Officer In charge charges that police will not sit idle but bring to book all perpetrators.
He has however advised timber traders to follow procedures if they are to cut down Mukula trees.
He has warned residents of Petauke to refrain from cutting down Mukula tree and that those without license the law will take its action.
Ngosa says once the culprit has been detained, the court will sentence an individual according to the number of logs. 
The authors of this article are members of the Children’s News Agency (CNA) Petauke Bureau.

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