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In my grade 4 classroom, under Environmental Science, there was a poster titled Ko dzamangwana dziripi?

meaning which translates to where is tomorrows supply. The picture on the poster was that of a rural woman carrying firewood on her head and a malnourished baby on her back. The firewood she was carrying consisted mostly of small twigs. The photographer made sure he or she captured a great deal of the terrain at the background. The area was bare; it lacked ground cover except for two three shrubs. There was ample so much evidence of the effects of wind and water erosion, and there was a with a deep gully slicing the terrain in half. For years, to me, it was just no more than a poster in my Grade 4 classroom but after I went to high school and started studying Geography as a major ,I realized the magnitude of deforestation and the deeper significance of the poster. Deforestation has been described as the cutting down of trees without planting others in their place. Deforestation is rife in most rural areas where residentsce depend on trees for firewood, medicines ,lighting and building material. Also trees are cut for commercial uses like manufacturing furniture and paper, food/fruits, landscaping, extraction of chemicals, roasting firing clay bricks,and with the barks being used to make bags ,mats and blankets.

Figure 1:Logging Companies destroying the forests

For a child growing up in a village, cutting down of trees was an everyday chore ,but we never replaced any of them; we harvested both dry trees and also green ones. Coming back to the poster, I came to realize the author, by referring to the following day, did not mean the next day as commonly understood, but rather he meant the future , which could mean next month ,year, decade or century. If we exploit all the resources we have now unsustainably ,then what will the next generation use? As a generation we should be made aware of sustainable development or sustainable use of resources.

To Sustain, according to Oxford Current English Dictionary page 919, means to support or bear the weight of something for a long period of time and also to encourage or nourish. Development means a stage of growth or advancement. Therefore sustainable development or the sustainable use of resourses mean growth or advancement development that meets the needs of the current generations without jeopardizing the ability of the next generation to meet their own needs
In Zimbabwe the economic collapse has been coupled with the scarcity of electricity. In the SADC region, urban dwellers depend on trees also for firewood. If the whole country (rural and city dwellers) are now cutting down tree for firewood unsustainably, what will become of our forests ,woodlots ,and sanctuaries? They were under stress before the electricity load shedding. Now they are at a point of suffocation or depletion or extinction. Current statistics about deforestation in Zimbabwe are hard to come by but it's known that between 1990 and 2005, the country lost 21% of its forests and in fact has no primary forests remaining. Between 2000 and 2006, Zimbabwe was one of the top 10 countries in the world for deforestation. The Federation of Timber Producers estimated that resettled farmers exploited millions of dollars worth of timber in 2005, through illegal fires and harvesting, basing the cost on the value of the trees. One has to ask-what are the effects of deforestation both short term and long term in terms of: -the socio-economic and the environmental effects? -who is really benefiting from deforestation on a large scale? -who is mostly affected by deforestation? Deforestation affects the environment , people and animals. Some of the effects of deforestation are depletion of carbon sinks, soil erosion, destruction of animal habitats, extinction of medicinal plants,and global warming. Nature balances the flow of energy and nutrients. Forests play a very vital role in these cycles e.g. the carbon cycle where deforestation causes carbon dioxide to remain in the atmosphere. Accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts as a blanket that traps long wave radiation of heat and prevents it from escaping the surface of the earth back into the atmosphere. This phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect. This heat causes global warming. The trapped radiation is converted into heat. Swamps and forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere;the absence of trees means carbon dioxide will accumulate in the atmosphere and this will cause global warming. Deforestation makes soil prone to erosion by agents such as wind and water. The roots of trees hold the particles of soil together thus, preventing the fertile top soil from being carried away. Soil erosion leads to loss of productivity of the land due to loss of

mineral nutrients and soil microorganisms. Lack of soil fertility will reduce yields and cause famine. Apart from domesticated animals and marine and fresh water animals, all other animals need forests as their habitats. These forests do not only provide a place for the animals to roam day but also provide their food and act as a source of protection from predators through camouflage. Destruction of the animals habitats literally kills the animals.

Some trees are used as herbs. Trees such as the Cinchona have been used as treatment against Malaria since time immemorial. Destruction of these forests leads to destruction of medicinal plants that could have been used as treatment for various ailments. Trees act as windbreakers .Absence of these trees enables strong winds and/ or storms e.g. Hurricanes and Tornados to cause destruction. I write this in the wake of a Tornado that hit South Africa recently where one life of a nine year old was lost and 45 people were injured. Destruction of forests also causes modification of climate of an area mostly leading to desertification and aridity. There is still a number of indigenous people who consider forests as their primary habitats like the Basarwa in Botswana. They are rendered homeless when forests are depleted. These natives would be forced to live elsewhere, and are usually left to becoming mendicants in rural and urban areas. Also because many indigenous people actually have no legal rights to the land on which they live, governments when they want to use the forest for profit can actually "evict" them. As these populations leave the rainforest, they also leave their culture behind. SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM What then should be recommended as solutions to these problems and who should be responsible for aforestation? In Zimbabwe 1week is set aside for planting trees every December. How effective is this and how many people plant trees besides the Minister or President we see on National Television Planting one tree. Can one week of planting trees justify 51weeks of cutting down trees? How many trees are cut down in 357day and can they be replaced in 7days. Our governments have failed to come up with mitigation measures to curb soil erosion. With the economic collapse in Zimbabwe, there is an absence of environmental policy and individuals and communities will go a long way to solve this problem. Rural women and children are the most hit by deforestation because they shoulder the responsibility of looking for firewood. They walk very long distances to get firewood. Community- based organizations and individuals should come up with a policy of planting at least three, not two trees for every tree that is cut. We have reached such a critical point that to prevent the desertification of the world many more trees need to be planted.

Government should enact and enforce strict laws against deforestation in our communities for example water catchments areas should strictly be left alone and anyone seen cutting down trees should be punished. Quick growing varieties of soft wood trees like gum trees and wattle trees should be grown for commercial uses e.g. making of furniture, pencils and paper. We should also carry out consistent mass education on a worldwide scale, on the importance of reforestation and the dangers of deforestation. Africa receives more than 8hours of sunshine daily. It is high time that we reduced our dependence on charcoal as a source of fuel and make use of wind and solar energy.