An appraisal of communication against deforestation used by the forest department in encroached forests:A case of Kalulu forest reserve, Kabwe
Chikonde, Shula D
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The study's main objective was to carry out an appraisal of the communication modes and messages used by the Forest Department in curbing deforestation in National Forest Reserves. Kalulu Forest, in Kabwe, Central Province was chosen for the case study. Kalulu Forest was made a National Reserve due to the presence of the water catchment area which provides household water to the residence of Kabwe. The forest was put there to act as a carbon sink. The research was carried out at the Forest Department in Kabwe and eight of the cooperating partners involved in policy formulation and service provision in Kalulu Forest. The researcher also interviewed one hundred and twenty squatters and six headmen. The data was collected through the distribution of questionnaires and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences. In-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions were also used. The results revealed a number of important things. No participatory communication strategies and campaigns are employed in trying to educate the squatters on the importance of conserving Kalulu. None of the squatters have ever participated in any conservation program such as an aforestation project. Most of the squatters moved into the forest after being retrenched, reaching retirement or after none renewal of job contracts. Farming is the most common form of survival. Most of the crops grown include maize, soya beans, ground nuts, sweet potatoes and vegetables. Sunflower and cotton are grown on a small scale. Food is grown for household food security whilst the surplus maize is sold to Food Reserve Agency who has set up a depot in the forest reserve known as Makupu Depot. Focus Group Discussions were identified as the main means of communication between the Forest Department and the squatters. However, most of the discussions held were based on informing the squatters the reasons as to why they need to leave the forest and not how they come on board as partners and assist in protecting the forest. The study recommends that the current legislation on forests, which explicitly forbids for the occupation of people in forest reserves, be nullified in order for the forest department to be able to fully embrace environmental sustainable programs such Joint Forest Management and Community Based Forest Management which will allow the squatters to partake as partners and participants in development projects that pave way for them to live in harmony with the environment. Education and environmental awareness should be brought to the squatters through the use of theatre, drama, and focus group discussions. Local knowledge should be incorporated and not ignored.