Mafinga, Friday, 7th, June, 2024 –

Mafinga District Commissioner Mr. Boyd Kaonga says forest loss and degradation in catchment areas has led to seasonal drying of many streams such as Njele and Njunga which are tributaries of the Ntonga stream, one of the major tributaries of the Luangwa River.

Commemorating the World Environment Day in Mafinga District under the theme:
Accelerating Land Restoration, Drought Resilience and Desertification Progress in Zambia, Mr. Kaonga said these are river systems on which local communities and their livestock depend for livelihoods.

“About 90% of bush fires in most areas of Zambia are cauesed by man due to lack of knowledge on forest fire management and fire–fighting techniques. These drivers of deforestation and forest degradation if left un attended shall continue contributing towards high green house gas emmissions which in turn leads to climate change currently being experinced world-wide,” he said.

He said the Government has put in place measures aimed at reducing, halting and/or reversing land degradation in Zambia.

Mr. Kaonga said in Mafinga District, these measures include the implementation of Community Based Forest Management programmes; implementation of restoration programs for various ecosystems and natural regeneration; trainings and community awareness campiangs in forest fire management and suppression measures to reduce on effects of bush fires following presidential directives and planting of 1,300 pine trees through Forestry Department during International Forestry Day at Chanama Primary and Secondary schools to promote tree planting with each ward expected to raise about 1,500 assorted tree seedlings this year as a way to mitigate climate change.

And World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature – GEF7 Sustainable Luangwa Project Manager Mr. Lazarous Sichone said the project will support the restoration of around 900 Ha of forest and forest land.

Mr. Sichone said this will be achieved through assisted regeneration of 300 ha of degraded forest in the area of the source of the Luangwa River inside the Mafinga Hills NFR and 600 Ha outside the NFR under community management.

He said under component 2 of the project, environmentally sustainable livelihoods to be introduced to the communities in the implementation wards of Mafinga, Ntonga, Nsenje and Musipizi will improve the management of the Luangwa headwaters for an estimated area of 40,000 Ha.

Mr. Sichone said this is the area of landscapes which will be brought under sustainable land management in production systems.

MGEE Communications Unit

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