BY ARNOLD LETSHOLO
The Board of Directors of Forest Conservation Botswana (FCB) has resolved to award a tender for the development of management plan for the Chobe and Kasane Forest Reserves.
This follows the completion of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Chobe Forest Reserves Management Plans in 2018 funded by FCB by P1, 598, 873. 02.
FCB Public Relations and Marketing Officer, Lorato Mongatane says the tender has been awarded.
“For sustainable development in any area there should first be development of management plan. Had it not been for shortage of funds all the six forest reserves could have been covered by the development of the management plans,” explains Mongatane.
She said the development of the two management plans which will cost P2, 999, 08.90 is co-financed by FCB and the Department of Forestry and Range Resources (DFRR). The nine months project is expected to be completed in November 2019.
Statement from FCB indicates that the objective of the project is to come up with a framework that will guide sustainable natural resources utilization and tourism, adoptive management, implementation and monitoring plans. This will result in improved livelihoods of communities adjacent to the forest reserves through granting of sustainable source use quotas and participation in tourism related enterprises.
It further states that the two forests reserves of Kasane and Chobe were selected due to their proximity to the Kasane Township which has increased pressure on them due to increasing demand for land and competing priorities. It is expected that the management plans for the two forest reserves will serve as a benchmark for the remaining four, whose management plans are expected to be developed in the coming years.
Botswana has six forest reserves, all located within the Chobe district and represent 4207.42 km or 3.83 percent of the total protected land. Since 1968 the forest reserves in the Chobe District were strictly set aside for conservation purposes. Chobe Forest reserves have a huge potential for tourism related activities hence the need for establishing a specific and detailed management systems for the reserves.