The government has urged all individuals and entities that have encroached on forest reserve land to vacate and not wait for eviction notices.
Green Economy and Environment Minister Collins Nzovu has said that everyone is required to abide by the law and follow laid down procedures that guide the protection of forest reserves.
Mr. Nzovu said that the ministry will collaborate with the ministry of defense and home affairs to ensure the law is adhered to, adding that the government has observed with concern high levels of illegalities towards the country’s forest resource including the mushrooming of settlements in protected areas which include watershed areas resulting in the loss of 33 percent of forest cover across the country.
Speaking when he issued a ministerial statement in the National Assembly, Mr. Nzovu said that the uncontrolled harvesting of timber species such as Mukula and increased illegal cutting down of trees for charcoal production are among issues also affecting forest reserves.
Mr. Nzovu said that as a result of these illegal activities, forest reserves and water catchment areas have been seriously affected and that government is putting in place measures to halt the activities by evicting people who have encroached forest reserve areas.
Mr. Nzovu said that the security of forest reserves is important for the benefit of future generations as well as the conservation of the ecosystem.