Shifeta calls for action to achieve sustainable forest management

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Pohamba Shifeta, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, highlighted the multifaceted challenges facing Namibia’s forests and emphasized the urgent need for collective action towards sustainable forest management.

Speaking at the end of the conference titled “The Future of Namibia’s Forests – Sustainable Forest Management as Key to Unlock Its Potential”, organized by the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN), Shifeta focused the attention on the significant deterioration caused by deforestation.

“Our forests ate confronted by numerous challenges, with deforestation at the forefront. Nevertheless, we find solace in Namibia’s proactive steps to mitigate forest loss through measures like forest protection, tree planting initiatives, and managing uncontrolled wildfires,” he said.

Shifeta said that even amidst these challenges, solutions can be discovered.

The conference highlighted the indispensable role of sustainable forest management, while focussing the myriad benefits trees offer to ecosystems and, consequently, human survival.

“Trees perform a range of vital functions. They produce oxygen, cleanse the air of pollutants, manage water runoff, mitigate flooding, and serve as habitats for diverse wildlife. Moreover, they counteract climate change, prevent soil erosion, curtail noise pollution, provide shade, and improve water purity,” Shifeta said.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the minister encouraged the public to actively participate in the upcoming Arbor Day. He stressed the significance of activities like tree planting, tending to existing trees, expanding knowledge about different tree species, volunteering, and supporting tree planting endeavors.

Shifeta called on communities to take a more active role in forest management and pointed to the crucial role of the Community Based Natural Resources Management Programme.

“The Ministry has been steadfast in executing the Community Based Natural Resources Management Programme for forest conservation. This effort has culminated in the creation of 46 Community Forests throughout Namibia. Here, communities are deeply involved in sustainable forest management practices,” Shifeta concluded.

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