It is nested within four major river systems-namely Zambezi in the north, Limpopo in the south, Save in the south east, and Shashe in the south west. About 49% of the 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. Biodiversity is found in all the country’s land categories-namely state, communal and private lands.
The country's ecosystems are formally protected under six categories of protected areas as follows: 11 national parks, 6 gazetted forests, 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 in 1975. 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 south east Zimbabwe, is probably the largest privately owned conservancy in the world. In 1982 rights were extended to Rural District Councils (RDCs) to cater for the interests of rural communities who suffered the costs of living with wildlife on communal land. This led to the birth of the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE). The Programme now covers 11.2% of the country and has contributed to sustainable natural resource use especially elephant conservation.
WWF-Zimbabwe Country Office
10 Lanark Road