Govt Challenged to Invest in Deforestation Fight

This year, Thyolo district is expected to plant 800, 000 trees This year, Thyolo district is expected to plant 800, 000 trees - file photo

Environmental activist Mathews Malata has challenged government to step up efforts aimed at reversing the massive destruction of forest cover which includes courting traditional leaders to be champions in halting malpractice.

Malata was reacting to revelations that Thyolo district has lost over 200 hectares of trees within a year owing to charcoal burning and timber production.

"It’s very worrisome what is happening in Thyolo and also across the country. Its high time we enforced the law, beefing up forestry staff, hefty allocation to forestry department, incentivize tree planting programs, scaling up alternative cleaner cooking options, strengthening forestry governance committees and also courting traditional leaders to be tree champions to help the country in reversing the trend. Otherwise, we are heading for a disaster," Malata said.

Assistant District Forestry Officer for Thyolo, Francis Yohane, indicates that in 2020 the district lost over 509 hectares of trees while in the just ended year, over 262 hectares of forestry cover have been depleted owing to charcoal burning and timber extraction.

"The hectarage under forest cover has been lost. We are talking of 1.1 percent. The percentages are looking like are very minimal, but it’s a great loss,” Yohane said.

Meanwhile, Yohane says currently, they are engaging communities to manage naturally growing trees, encourage village committees and estates to plant the trees within their vicinities.

Meanwhile, Zodiak has established that locals are now targeting forests for Comforzi Plantation Limited, Nchima Tea Estate and Mulli Brothers Limited, among others.

This year, Thyolo district is expected to plant 800, 000 trees.

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