An estimated 815,000 acres of forest are being chopped down each year in Zimbabwe as its desperate people resort to firewood to cope with poverty, blackouts and a scarcity of fuel.
Conservationists warn that Zimbabwe could be reduced to a desert in a generation if the rate of deforestation goes unchecked. The country has been in the grip of power cuts, which sometimes last 19 hours, for six months.
The price of cooking gas has increased by 600 per cent. For many struggling families, firewood and charcoal have become the only source of energy — and selling it their only means to survive with unemployment at 90 per cent.
“People need to feed themselves and heat their homes,” Abednigo Marufu of the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission said. He said that much of the estimated 815,000 acres being lost comprised slow-growing native species.
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see also Mikko Paunio: Kicking Away The Energy Ladder: How environmentalism destroys hope for the poorest
Rupert Darwall: The Anti-Development Bank: The World Bank’s Regressive Energy Policies (PDF)