Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
mudflats, ozone layer, habitat destruction, rhinoceros, growing problems
Zambia is one of the most industrialized countries in Africa, and air pollution and the resulting acid rain are growing problems. The lack of adequate water-treatment facilities presents substantial health risks to the population.
Wetlands, including floodplains, swamps, and mudflats, make up about 6 percent of Zambia’s area, although none are adequately protected from degradation. Only about 42.2 percent (1995) of the land is forested, mostly with open woodland. Deforestation takes place at a rate of about 1 percent per year. Some important habitats are endangered, such as mountain areas in the northeast.
National forest makes up about 9 percent of the land. In addition, there are 19 national parks that protect about 8 percent of the country’s land, although game management areas and protected forests cover more than 20 percent of the land. Threats to protected land include brushfires, agricultural encroachment, prospecting and mining activities, hydroelectric development, habitat destruction due to local overpopulation of some game species, and poaching, especially of elephant and rhinoceros.
Zambia has ratified international environmental agreements concerning biodiversity, climate change, endangered species, hazardous wastes, the ozone layer, and wetlands. Regionally, the country participates in the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
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