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A Collapse in Zimbabwe’s Development Agenda Affects its Natural Environment

Reliance on biomass such as fuelwood for energy in rural areas has a strong bearing on Zimbabwe’s environment. Rural communities in Zimbabwe meet 94% of their cooking energy requirements by using traditional fuels, mainly fuelwood, and 20% of urban households use wood as the main cooking fuel. For this reason, unsustainable fuelwood use patterns are driving deforestation. Estimates are that deforestation has been high in the country, peaking at 330,000 hectares of forests destroyed between 2010 and 2014. Research shows that politicians, policy makers and development agencies should save the economy first. This would in turn save the woodlands. Quick fixes such as electricity access for households alone don’t save the woodlands. A political-ecological framework is needed to address rural energy needs and deforestation. Only when underlying factors are addressed will interventions such as rural electrification and renewable energy technologies have an impact.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

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