RUNDU, NAMIBIA, Feb 13 -– Four exotic tree species growing on the outskirts of Rundu, capital of the northeastern Namibian province of Kavango are being illegally harvested and sold as timber, says the Chief Forester for Northeastern Regions at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Michael Otsub.

He told Nampa heren Wednesday that people were vandalising and illegally harvesting the exotic trees at night to avoid being caught. No suspect has yet been arrested.

The Directorate of Forestry in the two Kavango regions was supposed to harvest the four exotic tree plantations in 2010, but this never took place. The trees are now overgrown.

These exotic trees were planted in the early 1970s to conserve natural resources at the Kehemu informal settlement and the Musese, Siya and Ndiyona villages.

The first harvest of the trees — which consisted of Eucalyptus Camadulesis and Eucalyptus Grandis trees — was in the early 1980s, and since then no harvesting has taken place.

The Directorate of Forestry intends to advertise for a tender within two weeks for the harvesting of these trees, which would then be sold to the public.

The harvesting will be done in the form of the coppicing system, which does not completely destroy the plant but ensures that it grows again. The harvested trees would be converted into poles, droppers and timbers.

Before selling it, the directorate will first have to determine the market value of the tree species in order to set the right price. After harvesting, they intend to fence off the plantation, and place it under 24-hour security watch. –

Source: NAMPA