An assessment of enchroachment and resource management of Luano National Forest, Chingola

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Mwila, Roselyne M
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Luano national forest has come under a lot of pressure from people venturing into agriculture, charcoal production over exploitation of timber and encroachment after retrenchment from the mines. Lack of forest management has led to environmental degradation and hinders socio-economic development.The questionnaire interview method was employed in obtaining information from stakeholders and the local people. The information helped in evaluating the management strategies employed in Luano national forest. Personal interviews and direct observation were conducted to get the qualitative information that could not be captured through other means of data collection. To determine the extent of encroachment, a satellite image for August, 2000 and digitized analogue maps for 1994 and 1995 were overlayed to get the land cover map.The study findings revealed that Luano national forest is heavily encroached with a high level of anthropogenic activities. The local people do not view the area as the forest but they consider it as an agricultural area. Of the 50 people interviewed, 90 percent were males and 10 percent were females. 64 percent of the respondents live in Luano area while 30 percent and 6 percent of the respondents live in Chingola and Kitwe, respectively. Poverty was cited as the main reason for the people to go and settle in the forest as it accounted for 72 percent of the answers obtained. Fertile soils and a place to settle accounted for 22 percent and 6 percent, respectively. The factors depleting resources in Luano forest were identified as charcoal production, conversion of the forest to agriculture land, encroachment, settlement, fire, and poverty.Lack of monitoring processes from the understaffed forest department contributed to encroachment of the forest. The forest officials concentrate on the management of local forests where Joint Forest Management strategies are employed. Even though the companies utilizing resources from the forest are ready to contribute to the sustainable management of the forest, there are no management strategies being employed in the forest.Luano forest should be degazeted so that it becomes a joint management entity for sustainable utilization of natural resources.
National Reserves-Government Policy-Zambia