This is the second in our mini-series on that crucial topic : Our Environment
The Zimbabwe Forestry Commission has done a fantastic job over the years, under difficult circumstances, of managing our indigenous forests – something which they have been recognised and applauded for by local and international bodies on many an occasion.
Every teak tree that is felled has a Forestry Official on site, assisting in the selection of each and every tree for felling, measuring and recording the size with a caliper and marking it accordingly. Every log which is felled has a serial number punched into it and similarly recorded. Sawmillers and loggers are regularly audited to ensure that they are using logs harvested officially, and not poached. A permit is required to transport any indigenous wood, including collected firewood, on any form transport. This, again, greatly reduces the risk of poaching.
Historically, the harvesting rate was to taken to be one cubic metre of timber per hectare, every forty years. This was a very cautious rate. The 40 year rotation allowed a smaller tree to grow to sufficient size so as to be ready for harvesting in forty years time .
Typically there would be between 20 and 100 teak trees of various sizes and ages per hectare.
Naturally, this is in stark contrast to the “clear felling” techniques used in other countries, in other types of forests, and of course, is far better than the slash and burn operations carried out for farm land.
Typically, in an area where harvesting is being carried out, one can observe between at least one or two cubic metres of dead trees and dry wood that have occurred for various other reasons than harvesting by man. There is a natural cycle of the life and death of trees in any balanced forest environment.
If one were to travel by light aircraft over huge expanses of the north west of Zimbabwe, we would still be flying over vast areas of healthy indigenous forests. This is thanks to the many positive factors being practiced in our country, but also and perhaps most importantly, the sensible and professional management of these resources by our Forestry Commission and Concessionaires over the years. However, we must not diminish or detract from the serious challenges our natural resources will always face, and we will forever appreciate and acknowledge the many positives and blessings we enjoy from this.