UK supports establishment of forestry monitoring unit to credibly monitor Malawi’s tree cover

Minister of Natural Resources & Climate Change, Michael Usi being appraised of the Unit

* Despite having the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy initiated in 2017

* Malawi did not have a unit, or a system that could effectively monitor forest landscape restoration across the country

By Duncan Mlanjira

On the commemoration of the International Day of Forests on Tuesday, March 21, the United Kingdom, in partnership with the Malawi Government, launched the national forest and landscape restoration monitoring unit, which has been equipped within the Department of Forestry — to support Malawi to credibly monitor its forest and tree cover.


A statement from the UK High Commission in Lilongwe, notes that despite having the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy initiated in 2017, Malawi did not have a unit, or a system that could effectively monitor forest landscape restoration across the country.

UK’s Deputy High Commissioner and Development Director in Malawi, Olympia Wereko-Brobby is quoted as saying:Malawi’s forests are essential to the wellbeing of everyone.

“However, these forests are under stress from unsustainable use, including illegal charcoal production. This unit, through accessible technology provides for the first time in this country, as system that can support the monitoring of forest landscape restoration.

“It will be a critical tool in mitigating the worst impacts of climate change — something that is at the front of all our minds given the devastating loss Cyclone Freddy has caused.”

Deputy High Commissioner, Olympia Wereko-Brobby

The financial support for this unit is through Modern Cooking for Healthy Forest project, which is co-funded with USAID. UKAID is being used to build the capacity staff working in the monitoring unit, including how to effectively use forest monitoring equipment.

The Government of Malawi has, in line with the Bonn Challenge, pledged to restore 4.5 million hectares of degraded land, and the UK remains committed to supporting this pledge.

Every year on the 21st March, Malawi joins the world to commemorate the International Day of Forests and this year’s theme is: ‘Healthy Forests for Healthy People’ — that provides the platform to raise awareness of the critical role of forests in providing a diversity of foundational environmental services and products.

The day highlighted the importance of managing, protecting and restoring Malawi’s forests which are vital for the economy, and to the lives and livelihoods of every Malawian. 

The Department of Forestry’s mandate is to ensure sustainable development, conservation and utilisation of forestry resources for socio-economic growth and development of Malawi with a vision of becoming a dynamic, high-performing, consultative and client-focused authority which promotes, builds and ensures sustainable development, utilisation, protection and management of forests to reduce poverty.

Its mission is to guide, plan, coordinate, facilitate and promote active participation of all stakeholders in the sustainable development and utilisation of forest resources, goods and services for socio-economic development.

This month, the Department enhanced its drive to protect and manage forests by graduating the first of three cohorts (a total 310) who were trained in weapon handling and sustainable forest management at Malawi College of Forestry & Wildlife in Dedza.

It was presided over by Minister of Natural Resources & Climate Change, Michael Usi, who emphasized that “natural resources and climate change is one of the major priority areas towards the attainment of Bonn Challenge and MW2063 development blueprint.

“In this regard, it is my hope that the graduating officers will be good stewards and that they will effectively and efficiently contribute towards the fight against climate change.”