Deforestation also occurs around urban areas

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Forestry:Effects of deforestation in rural areas

  • Deforestation is not limited to communal areas in Zimbabwe but also extends to commercial farming areas and even government protected woodlands.
  • People poach timber for sale in towns as firewood or to furniture manufacturers in the case of hard woods.
  • Areas around urban areas have also been highly deforested by the urban poor people who cannot afford to use electricity as a power source.
  • This has been caused by the shortage of illumination paraffin.
  • The town council is also clearing lands in an attempt to expand the town by providing residential stands to build houses.
  • Effects of deforestation are more pronounced in sensitive ecosystems with a high degree of aridity, sandy soils, steep slopes and poverty stricken communities.
  • Among these effects of deforestation are:
  • Increased poverty due to over-exploitation of resources to meet immediate needs.
  • Accelerated soil erosion and gully formation. Top fertile soil is loosened and washed away by agents of soil erosion. Small rills have been deepened into deep gulley and dongas, turning fertile land into bad land.
  • Tree roots are exposed and eventually die off.
  • Animals migrate as land slowly turns into a desert.
  • Low agricultural yields as the rich agricultural lands are degraded.
  • Increase run-off resulting in flooding.
  • Siltation of water channels and reservoirs, resulting in water shortages.
  • Drying up of wells and rivers due to decreased infiltration and sinking water tables.
  • Migration of animals as their habitats are destroyed.
  • Longer journeys to collect wood fuel and water particularly by women leaving little time for productive functions.
  • Frequent droughts due to absence of localized evapotranspiration.

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