19 April 2019
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Monday, 04 February 2019 14:34

Government strengthens efforts to restore Dzalanyama Forest Reserve

Written by  Fostina Mkandawire
Chief Secretary to Government, Lloyd Muhara Chief Secretary to Government, Lloyd Muhara Pic sourced from internet

Lilongwe, February 04, 2019: Government of Malawi has strengthened its efforts to restore Dzalanyama Forest Reserve by planting 4000 tree seedlings in the 2018/19 tree planting season.

Dzalanyama Forest Reserve covers 989 square kilometers stretching across three districts of Dedza, Lilongwe and Mchinji.

Chief Secretary to Government, Lloyd Muhara highlighted some of the interventions put in place to curb the level of degradation and ensure that communities surrounding the forest comply with them.

He said 4000 trees have been planted in the 2018/19 season and that Malawi Defense Force has been deployed to intensify patrolling of the forest by seizing bicycles and other equipment brought into the forest illegally, to curb plundering of trees.

“We have set 2021 as a target to ensure that the forest will have been restored to its natural state by yearly tree planting,” he said.

Muhara said apart from engaging Malawi Defense Force, the local communities have also been involved in the project as much of degradation of the forest is done by surrounding communities through charcoal production.

“The community is now being encouraged to find alternative means of making money so that they strike a balance. One of the alternatives is bee-keeping, which can equally pay off rather than charcoal production,” he said.

The government chief secretary said conserving Dzalanyama Forest Reserve is important because it is a source for Lilongwe River which supplies water to residents of Lilongwe through Kamuzu Dam 1 and 2.

Board Chairperson for Lilongwe Water Board, Dr Edward Chitsonga said following concerns of increased illegal activities including charcoal production which is rampant in the forest reserve, Lilongwe Water Board has engaged a number of initiatives and activities to protect and preserve the reserve.

“Environmental degradation of Dzalanyama (Forest) is a threat to the ecosystem and it can affect the whole City of Lilongwe, hence our interest to work hand in hand with government and other stakeholders to conserve the forest,” he said.

The Department of Forestry, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Lilongwe Water Board and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are jointly implementing a Conservation and Sustainable Management of Dzalanyama Forest Reserve (Cosama-DFR) Project that started in August, 2016 and will run until 2021.

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