The government of the Republic of Zambia, joined the International community in commemorating the International Day of Forests.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21st march the international day of forests in 2012. The day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. The theme for the 2021 International Day of Forests chosen by the collaborative partnership on forests is “Forest Restoration: a path to recovery and wellbeing.”
The 2021 theme for the International Day of Forests underscores the importance of replanting our forests. When we restore our forests, we create a better environment for the good health of the current and future generations; we create new spaces where plants and animals can thrive; we promote economic activities for wealth and job creation; we make a real impact on climate change; we improve the quality of the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink; and we create a health environment for our children to grow.
Forests are part of our global ecosystem and are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Forests contribute to a greener economic growth and provides timber, food, fuel and medicine for more than a third of the world’s population. They are our life-support system. We must therefore take deliberate steps to restore degraded forest areas in order to make sustainable development possible.
It is becoming more and more apparent that issues of sustainable use of forests ought to be the concern of every citizen. We are all aware of the devastating effects of climate change and other challenges as a result of the high rates of forest cover loss in the country. More recently, the country has experienced unprecedented incidences of droughts and floods. These climate change related effects could be attributed to the loss of forests that the country has experienced due to a number of factors.
The government under the able leadership of his Excellency Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, recognizes the important contribution that forests provide to the socio-economic wellbeing of our people. It is for this reason that government and with the support from cooperating partners is implementing various programs and activities contributing to forest restoration. These activities include the following:-
- Establishing a minimum of 3,000 hectares of plantations on deforested land by 2037 to address the drivers of deforestation and restoring degraded lands in eastern province;
- Providing alternative livelihoods, through small grants, to rural households in order to improve their income as well as reduce food insecurity and reliance on the forest resources in Northern, Luapula and Muchinga Provinces;
- Over one million five hundred hectares under community forestry countrywide; and
- Two hundred and eighty four honorary forestry officers gazetted.
- Annual tree planting activities at schools, higher learning institutions and communities;
- Recognition of eighty-seven (87) community forest management groups country wide to encourage stakeholder participation in sustainable forest management;
- Joining the “Bonn challenge” by pledging to restore two (2) million hectares of forest;
- Promotion of natural on 15 thousand hectares of forest in Central Province;
- Provision of alternative livelihood through small grants to forest dependent communities.
Citizen, Local Communities, Traditional leaders, Local Authorities, Civil Society Organisations and the private sector are encouraged to partner with government in forest restoration by planting a tree. Further every citizen should plant at least a tree representing each member of the household.
Zambia’s forests have potential to generate valuable economic, social and cultural benefits.
You may wish to note that natural forests when well managed are able to recover. The Lusaka National Park, is one such example of a previously degraded forest which has been restored. The forest as a wildlife habitat and biodiversity have been restored through promotion of natural regeneration and enrichment tree planting. The thriving wildlife in the Lusaka National Park is a practical example of the benefits of restoring degraded forests. The park is able to provide social, economic and environmental benefits to the nation as it brings many social, economic and environmental benefits to the nation.
The 2021, International Day of Forests was commemorated at the Lusaka National Park on 23rd March, 2021.