francis nhema 01-12-10 ed.jpgGovernment says stakeholders in environmental conservation should come up with tree planting programmes to help mitigate against climate change and global warming which is directly affecting the country.

Following the destruction of vast tracts of vegetation as a result of widespread veldt fires and indiscriminate cutting down of trees by tobacco farmers and wood vendors, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management has embarked on a programme to plant over five million trees before the National Tree planting day.

Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Cde Francis Nhema acknowledged that progress has been made in sustained tree planting campaigns  where over 7,5 million trees have been planted but more needs to be done in the maintenance of the trees so that they can play their role in climate change mitigation.

Cde Nhema said the programme should also see tobacco farmers planting woodlots to curb against the indiscriminate cutting down of trees when they cure their crop as this leads to soil erosion and environmental degradation.

Traditional leaders have also been tasked to oversee the programme in areas under their jurisdiction and to ensure that offenders are brought to book.

The current rate of deforestation in Zimbabwe is estimated to be approximately 330 000 hectares per annum equivalent to about 528 million exotic trees.

Environmentalists believe the challenge the nation is faced with is to establish equilibrium between trees that are removed annually with those that are planted.

In order to strike a balance at least 528 million trees need to be planted everyday translating to an average of 88 trees per person annually.