Forest management in Zimbabwe's Makonde District: Analysis of factors that influence decisions and practices in forest use
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Zimbabwe, like any other country in Sub-Saharan Africa, is experiencing deforestation and environmental degradation at a rate which is believed to be not sustainable. Renewable and non- renewable natural resources are being depleted faster than they could be replaced. At the centre of the debate on deforestation are rural communities, who, as part of their livelihoods, depend on forest natural resources. This research is about understanding peasant behaviour around deforestation. The researcher carried out observations and took photographs in order to augment in-depth and key informant interviews. For findings, the study shows that: the farmers in ward six are engaging in various practices in forest use that include land clearance, cutting down of trees for fire wood for sale ,domestic use and tobacco production, clearing forests for hunting using fire. They also graze their livestock in the forests. There are two models of farmers, the A1 and A2 and both engage in these practices albeit with different zeal but the same outcomes. Deforestation and degradation are a cause for concern. Policies in forest management come from the top, and traditional leaders are side lined in the formulation of policies and are thus reduced to mere implementers of state laws. If developmental interventions are to work, they should incorporate indigenous knowledge systems and decentralise decision-making to the local levels.
Additional Citation InformationNyikadzino, T. (2014). Forest management in Zimbabwe's Makonde District: Analysis of factors that influence decisions and practices in forest use (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Zimbabwe, Harare.