This unit conducts research into:-
- Methods of managing indigenous forests on sustainable yield basis.
- Involves determining growth rate.
- Effect of thinnings, pollarding and coppicing.
- Construction of yield tables of selected species.
CONTRIBUTION OF TREE DOMESTICATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is here, its effects are being experienced worldwide and global efforts are needed to mitigate and adapt to these effects. All of a sudden seasons have changed, adverse weather conditions are being experienced, temperatures have increased, drought, floods and other natural disasters are taking place anywhere and anytime. It’s time that global efforts are put in place to help alleviate and to adapt to these changes. Forestry is one such discipline that can play a big role in this aspect. Forests need to be restored in order to reduce the effects of climate change because they act as carbon sinks that reduce damage to the ozone layer which leads to global warming. (Figure 1 shows that it is possible to restore forests using indigenous seedlings. The species shown are: 1 – Kirkia acuminata, 2 – Afzelia quanzensis, 3 –Adansonia digitata, 4 –Berchemia discolor, 5 – Colophospermum mopane, 6 – Sclerocarrya birrea.)
Taking it closer home, Zimbabwe’s economy depends heavily on natural resources for employment creation, source of energy and sustenance of livelihoods. Forests are part of these natural resources. For these forests to be managed and restored sustainably there is need to have working knowledge of growth characteristics of the indigenous trees that form these forests. Estimations of forest restoration, regulation on indigenous tree felling and utilization period can be derived when such information is known. There is need to have adequate growth and yield data of various indigenous tree species.
Several factors such as forest fires, wood energy demand and resettlement have led to accelerated deforestation and this has depleted forests that are important as carbon sinks. In the past, deforestation was rampant and very little planting and research of indigenous trees took place. Afforestation efforts have previously been done with exotic species but this has altered the natural ecosystem and biodiversity in some areas. Rehabilitation using indigenous tree species is the solution to preserving biodiversity and at the same time rejuvenating carbon sinks.
Given the foregoing, Forestry Research Division has embarked studies on domestication of regionally important indigenous trees with multipurpose use in an effort to mitigate climate change effects. These trees are of economic and ecological importance, having been selected after a series of extensive stakeholder consultations in various parts of the country through the Conservation and Extension Division.