The government has promised to set boundaries to the Itigi Sumbu Thickets in Manyoni district so as to protect the area against human activities that threaten the Itigi thickets.
Special seat legislator, Christowaja Mtinda (Chadema) has urged the government to survey and identify areas rich in Itigi thickets in the district in Singinda, calling it a tourist attraction site warning that up to 50 percent of the precious region has already been destroyed.
Responding, deputy minister for natural resources and tourism, Lazaro Nyalandu said, the government has already surveyed the 410,000h that covers the vicinity of several villages, Kipondoda, Mbugani, Kashangu, Aghondi, Sanjaranda and Isuna.
In fact, the deputy minister went on to even name by the indigenous names, some of the trees that make the region so unique (especially known for its honey) they were Mnang’ana, Mtunduru, Mpelemehe, Mbefu, Msada, Ndarambwe and Msogomazi.
“We have not yet sold this natural honey…” he admitted and this been so despite the copunry having participated at the International federation of Beekeepers Association in Argentina (APIMONDIA) last year.
Little is known about the ecology of the Itigi-Sumbu Thicket, but it has been conjectured that the thickets represent a pre-climax state that is enforced and maintained by unfavorable environmental conditions, reports eoearth.org
Best known for its impenetrably dense deciduous vegetation, the Itigi-Sumbu Thicket, while little research has been conducted, is unique and contains a number of endemic plants.
It was once a vital habitat for the black rhino, although poachers have reportedly eradicated the rhino in this eco-region. Human populations in the area are rapidly increasing and even the thicket contained in protected areas is converted for agricultural purposes.
The Itigi-Sumbu Thicket is in fact being transformed so quickly that the Zambian portion is predicted by ecologists to probably disappear in the next twenty years if urgent conservation action is not taken.