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Make the most of our forests - the right way

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EZULWINI – A new organisation, the Community Forest Network, was launched yesterday to help communities to make an income from forests while taking care of the environ-ment.

The new non-governmental organisation (NGO) was founded by two experts in environmental affairs. Dr. Cliff Dlamini and Zidumo Burton Msimisi Mkhatshwa created the CFN to help government in protecting the environment and specifically trees.

The CFN’s director, Mkhatshwa said the Network was a forestry-based NGO which plans to help stop deforestation, soil damage or degradation and the destruction of Swaziland’s environment.

The director, who addressed an audience at the Swaziland Water Services Auditorium, said these issues have been tackled by many organisations but with little success.

According to him, many organisations involved in helping communities use the land better, have not approach problems with sustainable solutions or solutions which will be able to make good long-term changes.

"In order to make the interventions sustainable, the communities must be compensated for the work they will do," Mkhatshwa said.

"The work or activities CFN wants to introduce communities to include bee keeping, mushroom produc- tion and fruit tree breeding among others.

The CFN will be approaching problems in a new way, the director explained.

The NGO will be the first of its kind because according to the director, the organisation does not plan to compete with other NGOs but rather, collaborate with all of the organisations in Swaziland.

Saving the forests, land is serious business

EZULWINI – Swazi-land’s forests urgently need caring for before it is too late to save what is left of this precious resource.

This is according to the newly-launched Community Forestry Network (CFN) which was launched yesterday to help address the growing need for intervening in the destruction of forests and soil.

The network’s communi-cations and resource head, Eric Douglas-Onwuka, said environmental problems in the country are here to stay unless they are addressed. "We are seeing more dongas (strips of useless land) around the country.

"The situation is not explosive yet but indicators show intervention is needed," he said.

The founder of CFN, who addressed an audience of environmental experts and stakeholders, said Swaziland’s forests are currently being used in an unsustainable way, meaning care is not being taken to make sure the forest will grow again after it was used for firew-

ood.

According to the organization government and communities are not responding fast enough to the problems of disappearing forests and good soil. For this reason the CFN has proposed more than 10 projects around the country like Sustainable Forest Management to help communities with caring for their environment while they use its resources.

"The Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, the Swaziland Environmental Authority and the Swaziland National Trust Commission need this kind of assistance," Douglas-Onwuka said.

 

 

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