45.3% —or about 17,540,000 hectares—of Zimbabwe is forested.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Zimbabwe lost an average of 312,900 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.41%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change increased by 16.4% to 1.64% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Zimbabwe lost 21.1% of its forest cover, or around 4,694,000 hectares. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Zimbabwe lost 36.8% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Zimbabwe has some 1103 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 0.9% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 2.2% are threatened. Zimbabwe is home to at least 4440 species of vascular plants, of which 2.1% are endemic. 7.9% of Zimbabwe is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Zimbabwe Environmental profile


Zimbabwe: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)38,685,000
Total Forest Area (ha)17,540,000
Percent Forest Cover45.34%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)-
Primary Forest, % total forest-
Primary Forest, % total land-
Other wooded land (ha)-

Zimbabwe : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)100%
Subtropical (% forest area)0%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)0%

Zimbabwe: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)--
Modified natural (ha | %)17,385,00099.1%
Semi-natural (ha | %)--
Production plantation (ha | %)154,0000.9%
Production plantation (ha | %)--

Zimbabwe: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)22,234,000
Forest 2000 (ha)19,105,000
Forest 2005 (ha)17,540,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(312,900)-1.41%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(313,000)-1.64%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(4,694,000)-21.11%
Change in rate (%)16.42%
Primary 1990 (ha)-
Primary 2000 (ha)-
Primary 2005 (ha)-
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)--
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)--
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)--
Change in rate (%)-
Other 1990 (ha)5,437,000
Other 2000 (ha)-
Other 2005 (ha)-
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)--
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)--
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)--
Change in rate (%)-
Other 1990 (ha)154,000
Other 2000 (ha)154,000
Other 2005 (ha)154,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-0.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)27,517,000
Other 2000 (ha)18,951,000
Other 2005 (ha)17,386,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(856,600)-3.11%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(313,000)-1.65%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(10,131,000)-36.82%
Change in rate (%)-46.94%

Zimbabwe: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)0
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)0.00%

Zimbabwe: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)-
Private (%)-
Other (%)-
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)-
Private (%)-
Other (%)-
Designated functions of forest – primary function 2005
Production (%)10.1%
Protection (%)2.8%
Conservation (%)-
Social Services (%)-
Multiple Services (%)87.1%
None of Unknown (%)-

Zimbabwe: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)-
Insects (ha)-
Diseases (ha)-
Other (ha)-

Zimbabwe: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20050
World Heritage sites, 20045
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land7.9%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land6.95%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20040.99%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 20040.00%

Zimbabwe: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species40
endemic species4
threatened species6
total species661
endemic species0
threatened species10
total species222
endemic species2
threatened species8
total species180
endemic species4
threatened species0
Wildlife diversity
total species1103
endemic species10
threatened species24

Zimbabwe: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species1,747
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered0
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic95
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened17

Zimbabwe: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)843
Below-ground biomass (M t)226
Dead wood (M t)150
Total (M t)1,219
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)422
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)113
Carbon in dead wood (M t)75
Carbon in litter (M t)-
Soil carbon (M t)-
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)1,185
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)10,381
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)11,566
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)2
Plant products 2005
Food (t)-
Fodder (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)-
Ornamental plants (t)-
Exudates (t)-
Other plant products (t)-
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)-
Hides, skins and trophies (units)-
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)-
Bush meat (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Other edible animal products (t)-
Other non-edible animal products (t)-
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)$59,047,000
Wood fuel (US$)-
Non-wood forest products (US$)-
Total value (US$)$59,047,000
Total value ($USD/ha)$3
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employed16,000

Zimbabwe : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Zimbabwe: Environment
Environment - current issuesdeforestation; soil erosion; land degradation; air and water pollution; the black rhinoceros herd - once the largest concentration of the species in the world - has been significantly reduced by poaching; poor mining practices have led to toxic waste and heavy metal pollution
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Natural hazardsrecurring droughts; floods and severe storms are rare

Zimbabwe: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 8.32%
permanent crops: 0.34%
other: 91.34% (2001)
Natural resourcescoal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals

Zimbabwe: Economy
Economy - overview:The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles with an unsustainable fiscal deficit, an overvalued exchange rate, soaring inflation, and bare shelves. Its 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. Badly needed support from the IMF has been suspended because of the country's failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 133% at the end of 2004 and 246.7% in 2005, while the exchange rate fell from 24 Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar to 15,200 in the same time period. The government's land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs.
GDP - per capita$1,900 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)-4% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productscorn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugarcane, peanuts; sheep, goats, pigs
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 17.9%, industry: 24.3%, services: 57.9% (2005 est.)
Industries mining (coal, gold, platinum, copper, nickel, tin, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel, wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages
Economic aid - recipient$178 million; note - the EU and the US provide food aid on humanitarian grounds (2000 est.)
Debt - external$5.17 billion (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line (%)80% (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation (%)agriculture 66%, industry 10%, services 24% (1996)

Zimbabwe: Population / Demographics
Population (July 2005)12,746,990
Population growth rate (%) (2005)0.51%
Population density (people/sq km) (2005)33.0
Percent rural (2003)65.1%
Median age (years)total: 19.26 years
Total fertility rate (children born/woman)3.54 (2005 est.)
Ethnic groups (%)African 98% (Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, other 2%), mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%

Largest Cities in Zimbabwe

Cities and urban areas in Zimbabwe with population over 100,000 All figures are estimates for 2002.

City Data for All Countries
Country Population Projections 2010, 2015, 2020 [645 KB]

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World’s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

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