Encroachment into restricted forest reserves remains biggest challenge in reforestation efforts

Trees help rivers not to dry up

* As Zomba District Council sets to plant 2.5m trees

By Solister Mogha, MANA

Most restricted forestry reserves in Zomba have been encroached by their sorrounding communities placing some big challenge in the reforestation efforts by the the district’s forestry sector as it expects to plant 2.5 million trees in this year’s national tree planting season.

This was disclosed by Zomba District Forestry Officer, Amon Kabango during launch of constituency tree planting exercise in Zomba-Malosa Constituency, saying some parts of Zomba Mountain and other hills like Malosa, have been heavily encroached by people searching for farmland.


The beauty up Zomba Mountain

Kabango noted that the challenge calls for speedy action by all concerned partners in environmental conservation.

“We have on several occasions tried to engage other partners but there seems to be some reluctance.

“I think with great collaboration between government, chiefs, Member of Parliament and others, the situation could improve,” Kabango said.

Kabango said despite deforestation from tree poaching being another major challenge, the planting exercise would continue until all bare grounds are covered.

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He added that tree planting exercise at constituency level would encourage people to take part in the reforestation efforts and improve on ownership of the forest reserves.

“You may recall that Zomba was once a green city because it hard thick and beautiful vegetative cover. This, however, is not the case now but we can do something to bring back the lost glory.

Member of Parliament for Zomba Malosa, Grace Kwelepeta emphasized on the need for multiple interventions to address the ever-growing problem of deforestation.

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Kwelepeta said deforestation has multiple implications, citing drying of rivers, which may directly affect lives of many people.

“As a Parliamentarian for the area, I will do everything possible to ensure that our forests are protected.

“I personally take this tree planting exercise as one step towards ending deforestation,” she said.

In his remarks, Senior Chief Malemia said chiefs have a role to ensure that forests are protected, saying among other things, the traditional leaders can establish forest by-laws and encourage communities to plant more trees.

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President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera launched the 2020/2021 national tree planting season in Nkhata Bay on December 18, last year.

About 60 million trees are expected to be planted this year during the season which runs through December to April annually.

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