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Zambia: Zambia Environment Profile 2012






Zambia Environment Profile 2012

Zambia has two targets under natural-resource management: integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes, and reversing the loss of environmental resources.
The percentage of land covered by forest (originally 51.7%) continues to decline, mainly due to wood harvesting (charcoal, timber, agriculture and human settlement). According to, the global website on forest cover and wildlife, Zambia has experienced an average annual deforestation rate of 0.91%. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Zambia lost 13.6% of its original forest cover (equivalent to about 6.672 million hectares).
The percentage of land protected to maintain biological diversity has, however, remained constant in the recent past. Carbon-dioxide emissions are increasing due to increased mining, and industrial and agricultural activities. Consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) is declining and a Carbon Emission Tax aimed at raising funds for mitigation activities has been instituted for motorists. A national policy on the environment was launched in July 2009 and is supported by a number of legal and regulatory frameworks. A climate-change facilitation unit has been set up in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources. The Environmental Council of Zambia enforces regulation related to environmental management. Steps to link the natural-resources sector with other sectors are laid out in the FNDP and are being implemented through various policy-dialogue and aid-management channels such as the Natural Resources Consultative Forum. Nonetheless, this remains a slow process due to institutional rigidities.

Reforms in the agricultural sector are also relatively slow. Despite a good national policy document, actual implementation on the field continues to promote a dominant public sector over private-sector participation. The sector is still characterised by limited levels of public investments in key activities such as livestock extension, support to crops other than maize, and support to research and development, and by the dominance of input and output marketing subsidies (more than 70% of budgetary resources). There is an apparent parallel growth of the private sector, devoid of public support systems. Outgrower schemes offer an opportunity to address some of the perennial constraints to agricultural growth. The land market is growing and large-scale farming enterprises are expanding, but more than 90% of the land is still under traditional property. Yields and productivity have not improved, and the agricultural sector remains stagnant. Its contribution to GDP revolves around 15% when it could rise potentially to 25%.