Environmental problems in Zambia | WWF

Environmental problems in Zambia

Artisanal pirogue with local fishermen passing Spanish trawler in their fishing grounds. Senegal.

Zambia’s biodiversity challenges and threats

Zambia’s biodiversity faces a number of challenges and threats. Wildlife faces the challenge of illegal wildlife trade and poaching. The forests face a challenge of deforestation as a result of land use such as agriculture and human settlements. Forests are also threatened by charcoal burning (by rural people) which is a source of energy for the poor people in urban areas who cannot afford electricity.

 rel= © WWF / Jo BENN

Zambia is also highly endowed with abundant water resources from rivers, lakes and wetlands. Biodiversity in freshwater bodies face threats such as pollution, poor fishing methods and overfishing.

The Zambezi river basin, which covers eight (8) riparian states in Southern Africa (Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania), is a major source of freshwater for the entire region. The greatest challenges are the various competing demands for water usage ranging from energy generation, abstraction for crop irrigation purposes as well as domestic and industrial uses.

Zambia recently discovered uranium deposits in the north western part of the country in upper Zambezi river basin and mining is currently under way. Recognizing that uranium is a highly radioactive material and Zambia being a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is incumbent upon the Zambian government to ensure that there is maximum protection at all times. The greatest threat is contamination of the Zambezi river basin, home to about 65 million people.

WWF Zambia has been working to address various threats and other challenges facing biodiversity conservation in Zambia for the benefit of humanity and the environment. With support from various cooperating and implementing partners, WWF Zambia has several programmes across the country aimed conserving Zambia’s biodiversity.