By ZBC Reporter
As part of protecting the commercial timber industry, state-owned firm Allied Timbers has embarked on a massive tree planting programme targeting 18 000 hectares in the next three years.
The country’s timber industry is under threat from veld fires and illegal cutting down of trees, with the situation being exacerbated by harvesting of timber that does not match the planting rate.
Following revelations by the Timber Producers Federation that commercial forests, shrunk from 120 000 hectares to about 69 000 hectares in 2019, Allied Timbers has embarked on an aggressive tree planning project expected to cover 18 000 hectares within three years.
“We are expanding our nursery in preparation for a massive planting target of five thousand hectares next year. We target to plant18 000 hectares in thenext three years. We have been harvesting more than we plant and this planting programme reverses this negative trend,” he said.
Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu recently visited Allied Timbers Stapleford plantations in Manicaland and is upbeat about protection of the timber industry.
“There had been concerns on the level at whichthe timber forests are depleting. We are happy that Allied Timbers has partnered the forest commission to develop nurseries to produce seedlings needed to scale up the tree planting exercise. They have promised to meet their targets,” he said.
Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba implored the securing sector to up its game in fighting deforestation.
“The deforestation taking place through illegal gold panning and burning of trees has reached alarming levels. The law enforcement agentsappear to be weak to address to arrest the situation. Replanting is also critical to preserve our forests. Those running forests need to plant trees at a faster rate than their cutting. Increasing forest cover,” she said.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation report of 2015, deforestation gutted 37% of Zimbabwe’s forested land between 1990 and 2015.
By ZBC Reporter