Forest department says Malawi has planted 52m trees
The Department of Forestry has said 52 million trees have been planted in the 2022- 23 tree planting season, exceeding the tree target of 50 million trees in the 2021- 22 tree planting season, a total of 57 million trees were planted against a target of 40 million.
In an interview, Deputy Director of Forestry, Titus Zulu, said they had incorporated planting of bamboo in order to restore degraded landscapes in areas prone to landslides.
Zulu added that they are currently assessing the damage that Cyclone Freddy has caused to trees that were planted since the onset of the tree planting season.
“Bamboos hold the soil well and we have managed to plant 738, 000 species of bamboo and we are encouraging people to take care of the trees that have been planted so that the survival rate goes up,” he said.
The department says Likoma has the lowest tree survival rate in the country at 57 percent and the highest being in plantations with 82 percent and the average national rate being at 74 percent.
In mid-March this year, the department said 28 million trees had been planted across the country.
But an environmentalist, Maloto Chimkombero, doubted authenticity on the total number of trees planted saying that is not practical on the ground.
Chimkombero added that the figures are also not tallying because the ministry had a big deficit of trees that could have not been planted in a single month.
“I don’t believe that we have managed to plant those many trees and even exceed the target because not long ago the ministry had only planted just a few trees. Stakeholders need to brainstorm ways on how we can be conducting these tree planting exercises effectively,” he said.
But Malawi Creation Care Network (MCCN) voluntary national coordinator, Charles Bakolo, sided with the department saying many stakeholders have been coming forward to plant trees.
President Lazarus Chakwera launched the 2022-23 tree planting season in Mangochi District on December 23, 2022.