Deforestation rate decreasing in Malawi


Unbelievable as it sounds, the rate at which trees are being decimated in the country is on the decline despite the rapid depletion of forest reserves.

National Tree Planting Officer in the Department of Forestry, Ronnie Chirambo, said despite the fact that more trees are being cut down, the pace at which this is happening is at a decreasing rate because there are simply no trees left in the country to cut down.

Speaking when Training Support for Partners (TSP) launched a tree planting exercise at Champiti Epicenter in Ntcheu, Chirambo said the deforestation rate used to be around 3.2 to 2.8 percent but now in the recent years, the rate is hovering around 1 percent because there are little or no trees to be cut down in most parts of the country.


“This year government plans to have 60 million trees planted countrywide and we encourage Malawians to particularly plant indigenous trees such as nsangu, mbawa, mlombwa, among others, which keep water and hold soil fertility unlike exotic ones such as eucalyptus which deplete water,” Chirambo said.

She said government would like to achieve a tree seedling survival rate of above 80 percent as drought and floods have been affecting the rate at which planted tree seedlings survive.

Chief Champiti encouraged his subjects to plant more trees if they are to enjoy uninterrupted power supply in the area, saying cutting down of trees results in reduced power generation and, therefore, massive load shedding.


TSP Executive Director, Robert Kafakoma, said his organisation is working in traditional authorities (T/ As) Champiti and Mpando with financial support from Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to enhance environmental management and conserve forest cover within the Upper Shire catchment area.

“We want to instill in people of this area the spirit of planting trees and managing already grown up trees to conserve Upper Shire catchment area in order to enhance power generation downstream,” Kafakoma said.

Kafakoma said TSP is targeting over 1 million trees to be planted in T/As Champiti and Mpando areas to arrest deforestation and soil erosion which is causing massive siltation in the Shire River and eventually reducing power generation.

TSP is running a three-year ‘Environment management in the Upper Shire catchment area’ project with K430 million funding from MCA.

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