The Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate has appointed a new Forestry Commission board  tasked with dealing with the pertinent issues affecting the country’s environment  such as deforestation and illegal timber exports.

The development comes at a time when Zimbabwe’s gazetted forests are under threat from illegal settlers with revelations that a sizeable hectarage of timber has been destroyed at Tarka Forest in Manicaland Province while the same damage is replicated in Mafungautsi Forest in Gokwe.

Announcing the new board, Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri highlighted that these are some of the issues that the board should quickly work to resolve.

Equally of concern is the menace of veld fires that have since destroyed 112 000 hectares of woodlots in Matabeleland North Province, reflecting a 120 percent increase from last year’s figures.

The new Forestry Commission board will be chaired by Professor Amon Murwira, who will be deputised by Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba.

Other board members include Dr Charity Manyeruke, Dr Dan Sithole, Mr Mauris Dzinoreva, Mr Wilfred Motsi and Mrs Nancy Mache.

The ministry is still considering six other board members to join the seven already named.