The Impact of Climate Change on Non Timber Forest Products in Zambia

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THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON NON TIMBER FOREST PRODUCTS
Introduction
Over the years, there have been growing concerns over the maintaining and sustainability of the ecosystem. One of the areas that have not been left out is the growing need to monitor forest management. Natural changes such as climate change cause variations in the nature and quality of products in these forests. The areas of interest in this case are the non-timber forest products which are becoming of extreme importance in today’s world economy. Although industrialized countries are responsible for the accumulation of green house gas emissions, the effects of global warming are most severe in the less developed countries of which Zambia is no exception. Climate change has posed many challenges on different sectors of the economy. One of the major resources affected by climatic changes is forests, forestry products non timber forest products. The main essence of this essay is to discuss the impact of climate change on non timber forest products in Zambia. The paper will have an overview of what climate change and non timber products are after which it will delve into the effects climate change has on non timber products in Zambia followed by a substantial conclusion carrying with it essential recommendations. Forests, Non Timber Forest Products and climate Change

A forest refers to a dense growth of trees, together with other plants covering a large area of lands covered with trees. A forest is an ecosystem which is a community of plants and animals interacting with the physical environment. Forests are vital environmental and economic resources for supporting natural systems and improving people’s livelihoods. They play an important role in the climate system. Trees are not just carbon stores. Forests are home to the people who are entirely or partly dependent on forests for their livelihood. Thousands of people in Zambia live in and around forests; more than half of them are tribal and depend on non-timber forest products. Of Zambia’s total land, 60% are forest and 14.4% are exotic plantations covering area 65003.99km2. The indigenous forest comprises Miombo woodlands. Changes in forest occur as a result of human land use and activities that result to global warming, ECZ (2008). Non-timber forest products are defined as: “products of biological origin other than wood derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests. They may be gathered from the wild, or produced in forest plantations, agro forestry schemes and from trees outside forests.” Non timber forest products support thousands of large and small scale industries and create employment and are a source of income. They are very important contributors to the well being or livelihood of both rural and urban populations. The sector is becoming of increasing importance to households in earning all or part of their living from the sector. Non-timber forest product includes leaves, fruits, seeds and nuts, roots and tubers, saps (such as honey) and gums, mushroom and bush meat, fuel wood, grass, fodder, food and medicinal herbs, bee keeping and small creeping animals, FAO (2003). Climate change refers to a statistical variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period. Climate change is rapidly emerging as one of the toughest and most threatening inherently global issues. In Zambia, the rate of mean annual temperature has increased by 1.3° since 1960; a rate of change projected to due to human activities and continues to change. This has an impact on increasing the frequency of days and nights which are particularly warm, a trend which particularly constrains crop yields in tropical latitudes. FAO (2003) rising temperatures are human induced and carbon dioxide, surface temperatures, rain and ocean levels will increase globally because of human activities. Changing temperature and precipitation pattern and increasing...
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