Zambia bans timber export to curb deforestation

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Zambian minister of lands Jean Kapata on Tuesday announced an export ban on all timber species, including the sought-after Mukula tree.

The minister said the move was necessitated by the need to curb rapid deforestation arising from illegal timber harvesting. Between 2000 and 2014 Zambia lost an average of 276 000 hectares of forest per year.

“The export of any timber species, including the Mukula tree, has been suspended forthwith,” Kapata said. The Timber Association of Zambia (TPAZ) is yet to comment on the ban. It previously decried the dominance of foreign players in the sector.

Kapata instructed law enforcement agencies to impound any logs beyond 100 kilometers from a concession area. “Any public officer that shall be found to facilitate movement of any timber shall be appropriately disciplined,” she said. “There will be no holy cows. Anybody, whatever their positions in society, as long as they are illegally found to be violating the ban will be arrested and prosecuted.”

The Ministry of Lands will work with the Ministries of Fisheries and Tourism respectively to enforce the ban. In addition, the ministry will engage traditional leaders in all provinces to sensitive residents on the ban.

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