BY KENNETH NYANGANI

COUNCILS should not parcel out residential stands without providing electricity to avoid cutting down of trees for domestic use, national tree ambassador Never Bonde has said.

Bonde made the remarks during a tour of Manicaland province during his forestry assessment programme ahead of the start of the fire season.

“I am still in a state of shock because of the level of deforestation in Manicaland province. Manicaland is the hub of trees in the country. I started with the tour of the province because this is where we have a lot of trees,” he said.

“We are asking councils and private developers to stop parcelling out stands where there is no electricity because people will end up cutting trees, causing deforestation, councils have been prioritising water and roads when parcelling stands,” he said.

“There should be a law which states that people should not be given land where there is no electricity and also people selling firewood should have permits.”

Bonde urged the Forestry Commission to be more proactive in its mandate to look after the country’s forests.

“The Forestry Commission is struggling to stop deforestation. The government should channel more resources to the commission so that it enforces the mandate of protecting our forests,” he said.

“I have been to Mozambique, Kenya and Namibia and you rarely see people cutting down trees because their enforcement is strong. What we lack in the country is enforcement to arrest people who are cutting trees,” he said.

Bonde also said that government should come up with a plan to resuscitate the country’s timber plantations.

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