MMCT impressed with community response

Blantyre, Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) says it is impressed with the positive response by communities around the mountain who are fully participating in Cedar tree-planting.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Thursday, MMCT Environmental Education and Communication Programme Officer, Kondwani Chamwala said the development follows the successful awareness campaign the trust has been conducting.

He said people have accepted that Mulanje Cedar can be planted against the myth that the tree cannot be replanted.

We have had a successful tree planting season in conjunction with communities surrounding Mulanje Mountain though there has been a decrease in the number of trees that have been planted this season as compared to the previous tree planting season.

In the previous tree planting season, we planted 400 000 trees while this season we have planted 350 000 trees. This depends on the number of trees the communities have raised on the nurseries, Chamwala explained.

Ministry of Energy, Mining and Natural Resources Public Relations Officer, Sangwani Phiri said the government is doing all it can to reclaim the mountain’s lost glory.

We are working with communities like Bondo Village in Mulanje District in Cedar tree planting so that we continue protecting it from possible extinction and to reclaim the catchment area, Phiri said.

The PRO then commended the Department of Forestry alongside its Department of Research, and the Forestry Research Institute of Malawi in partnership with the MMCT for actively mobilising local communities to embark on long-term replanting exercise on the mountain.

Mulanje Cedar tree was declared a national heritage tree in 1984. It is one of the highly protected tree species in Malawi because of its properties which are not found elsewhere in the world but Malawi.

At first, the tree used to be found on Mulanje Mountain only. As part of protecting it, government expanded its presence by opening up new planting sites like Zomba Mountain, Dedza Mountain, Viphya plantation and Chikangawa Forest Reserve.

Source: MANA Online