GOVERNMENT says Zambia is facing with a number of challenges in reducing deforestation which is caused by various factors.
Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga said at the sensitisation workshop on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) for provincial and district stakeholders in Chipata on Tuesday that the forest resources continue to be under pressure both in quality and quantity.
Dr Mulenga said in a speech read on his behalf by provincial local government officer Macleod Nyirenda that the pressure was caused by a combination of factors such as extensive practices of shifting cultivation and slash and burn which was increasing demand for wood based energy.
He said firewood and charcoal has continued to be utilised of the known commercial indigenous three species on unsustainable basis like encroachment, over-grazing, forest fires and infrastructure development.
Dr Mulenga said comprehensive and integrated sustainable development approaches were needed to combat deforestation and forest degradation in order to expand the role of forests as carbon sinks.
He said forest-based approaches could make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation.
“They are not, however the only solutions for climate change and should be pursued simultaneously with other measures including a shift towards low-carbon energy production and measures to assist the forest sector to adapt to climate change,”Dr Mulenga said.
At international level, he said proposals have recently been made to REDD in the potential scope of the post 2015 climate change regime.
He said an eventual post 2015 mechanism for REDD would most likely involve compensation for countries that reduce deforestations rates below historical national baselines.
Dr Mulenga said the basic idea underpinning REDD was leads to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
He urged the stakeholders with experiences to ensure that they provide guidance to the development of the national programme in order to develop a national strategy on REDD that would respond to the challenges.