Environmental Poaching is the poaching or removal of the plants, trees, rock, soil, and other elements which make up wilderness habitat. With the deteriorating economic situation the increase of poaching on the environment has grown exponentially. River sand is being poached for use to make bricks for shelter. Quarry stone being taken for construction purposes. Trees are being cut down for firewood, carvings, and structural supports. Plants are being taken for food.
One of the major activities faced is the unsustainable utilization of indigenous hardwoods, which are illegally removed from the surrounding state protected forests. A number of indigenous hardwood trees such as African Ebony (Diospyros mespiliformis), Pod Mahogany (Afzelia quansensis) and the Mukwa (Pterocarpus angolensis) are targeted to produce wooden curios for the tourist market. There are estimated 5,000 curio vendors in Victoria Falls, whose income depends solely upon sales of curios to tourists, but the rate at which the forests are depleting is alarming. Research from the Forestry Commission indicates that 80% of the Mukwa trees have been destroyed from certain areas!
Apart from the commercial side of wood poaching vast quantities of wood are also removed from protected areas for basic needs, such as burning for fuel.