Forests cover about 40% of the total surface area of Zimbabwe. Between 1990 and 2010, Zimbabwe lost about 30% of its forest cover and the rate of deforestation is 1.5% per year. The government has undertaken numerous afforestation projects in order to halt the rate of deforestation. Forests contribute about 3% to the GDP in Zimbabwe and form an important employment sector as well. Zimbabwe has the potential to be a carbon sink but this development is hindered by pressures for more agricultural land and wood harvesting by the local population.
The Forest Act and the Communal Lands Forest Produce Act (CLFPA) are the principal pieces of legislation that govern the exploitation and protection of forest and woodland resources in Zimbabwe. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources through its line departments (the Forestry Commission, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management) is the major player in forest biodiversity management. Other sectors such as agriculture, construction and water have both direct and indirect impacts on forest resources. However, there is no formal cooperation between the two sectors as the role of trees and woodland is not clearly defined in Zimbabwe’s agricultural policy. Zimbabwe is a signatory to a number of international conventions but has in the past had difficulties to attract funding sources.
To date, Zimbabwe has not started formal preparations for a REDD+ mechanism.