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Veld Fires & Deforestation, Climate Change Drivers

Shingirai Vambe

Zimbabwe- As nations unite in fighting climate change, more is needed to be done for Zimbabwe to quickly adapt and reduce emissions.

In the last quarter of the year 2019, the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development through the support of United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) embarked on a nation tour assessing sustainable energy projects.

Endowed with vast natural resources, used to the Mediterranean type of climate, Zimbabwe’s weather partners have also not been spared as the shift in the usual circle has changed, leading to extreme hunger and poverty.

Amongst the resources, the Flora and Fauna being the major contributor to human life and economic sustainability it has been seriously affected, not from an unknown cause but human conflict with nature.

During the tour, Takudzwa Chigwande of Nyangani Renewable Energy (NRE) told the team including this Newspaper that most water sources have been affected by cutting down of trees, which happened soon after land redistribution exercise in year 2ooo.

Timber producers only get their timber from the green belt of Manicaland and after the land reform programme most plantations were left in disarray leaving behind void land with the little plantations expected to take Zimbabwe for only 8 years.

Timber Producers Federation, Chief Executive Officer, Darlington Duwa, urged Zimbabweans and farmers to invest in tree re-planting exercise as the nation may face another challenge of importing timber for domestic use while Zimbabwe is one of the major exporters of timber in the Southern region.

Chigwande further highlighted how their company was affected by cutting down of trees.

“Our Hydro plants require us to have clean water supply, as people went on cutting down trees, the land was degraded, leading to siltation and if the plant is affected by siltation, we are forced to switch off and it also cripple our operations as it is more expensive to fix the damage”

“Manicaland is known of natural water springs which also flow into the river stream, but most springs dried up due to direct exposure to sunlight and we believe the evaporation process took place” and we had to engage with the community to educate them on the need to conserve trees” Chigwande added.

Acerbated by veld fires, more natural resources are being destroyed which is causing more danger to human life.

Veld fires are caused by humans, they continue to suffer from lack of rains and destruction of plants and trees and may cause wild animals to move across human inhabitant places in search of food and water as well as another suitable place of aboard, leading to more deaths caused by human-wildlife conflict.

To that effect, the environmental Management Agency is required put effort in dealing with the land degradation issues having some being allocated land in wetland and undesignated areas.

Illegal settlers in most cases occupy land under the instruction of political leaders, and lack of political will was highlighted as a major issue in ratifying these current challenges of land allocations and development.

However, government officials from Matebeleland told the Climate Change Department that due to hunger, people have resorted to find a means for survival through gold panning, selling of fire wood and some starting out fire to catch their mice for relish leading to a veld fires.

Before the end of the tour this publication came to conclusion that Climate Change is caused by people and only people can restore the dignity of the land which will at the end of the day add value and give life to both humans and animals.

With the corona virus pandemic most people have decided to work on the land, but are they doing so in a climate smart way?