About 49% of the country’s total land area is under forests and woodlands while 27% is cultivated. The former contains a wide range of fauna and flora that includes 4 440 species of plants, 270 mammals, and 532 bird species. The biodiversity is found in all the country’s land categories-namely state, communal and private lands. The bulk of Zimbabwe’s ecosystems are formally protected under six categories of protected areas as follows: 11 national parks, 14 botanical reserves, 3 botanical gardens, 16 safari areas and 15 recreational parks and sanctuaries. National parks and gazetted forests constitute 13% and 3% of the country’s land area respectively.
Zimbabwe is globally renowned for its past visionary approach to natural resource management. It was the first African country to develop a noticeable alternative approach to the management of natural resources outside protected areas through the 1975 amendment of the Parks and Wildlife Act that granted appropriate authority over wildlife to individuals on private land. This resulted in a proliferation of private game reserves and conservancies that occupied 10% of the country by 2000. With a land area of 3 442 square km, the Save Valley Conservancy in the south east of Zimbabwe, is probably the largest privately owned conservancy in the world.
WWF started operations in Zimbabwe in 1986.
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