THE Forestry Commission has expressed concern over rampant tree logging at Bulawayo’s Silwane Nature Reserve by residents in search of firewood.

Power utility, Zesa, which is failing to meet local power demand due to reduced capacity at Kariba Hydro-electric plant and Hwange Thermal Power Station, has embarked on 18-hour power cuts, forcing residents to turn to firewood, gas and charcoal for domestic use.

Forestry Commission district conservator Bekithemba Ngwenya recently told stakeholders that Silwane Nature Reserve was being threatened by unchecked logging Silwane Nature Reserve is situated near Cowdray Park suburb.

“A lot of damage has happened at the reserve. People from the suburbs, because of the current power cuts, have been going there (Silwane Nature Reserve) to fetch firewood to use on a day to day basis, leading to deforestation,” Ngwenya said.

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“We want to do afforestation in the area by introducing trees. We will do that during the national tree planting day,” he added.

He said they will be planting indigenous fruit trees that will provide food for the animals in the reserve.

Silwane Nature Reserve director Sikhawuliso Sibanda said they have identified problems in the reserve and approached different organisations to help preserve the area.