Lands and Natural Resources Minister Jean Kapata has directed for the immediate eviction of all individuals and entities that have encroached on forest reserves around the country.
Addressing a media briefing in Lusaka today, Ms Kapata says the government has observed with great concern that almost all the 473 forest reserves are encroached and people are conducting various activities such as settling, mining and cultivations within the protected forest areas.
Mrs. Kapata has directed the Director of Forestry to serve eviction notices to all those who have encroached on the forest reserves to move out immediately regardless of political affiliation and status.
She, however, states that those that are cultivating various crops should be directed to move out after harvesting their crops of the current growing season.
She says those conducting activities in the forests reserves without a permit or licenses are doing so against the provisions of the Forest Act of 2015.
Ms Kapata has since warned that those who have settled and put up infrastructure in these forests will not be compensated.
Meanwhile, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister has announced that she will soon be issuing a Community Forest Management Statutory Instrument in the first quarter of 2018 which will allow communities to participate in sustainable forest management.