Deforestation In Malawi
Malawi is a country that was previously heavily forested. However, due to deforestation, the forest cover now remains at just 26.4% of the land.
What is deforestation?
Deforestation refers to the permanent removal of trees whereby they are replaced by something other than the forest.
Globally, deforestation has been on the rise and at an alarming rate. In Africa, Malawi, a developing country has experienced it worst to an extent that some years back, the military was deployed to protect the trees in the Dzalanyama Forest Reserve. The deforestation crisis that led to this was as a result of illegal logging in the forest area. The current rate of deforestation in the country could see Malawi stripped of every single one of its trees by the year 2079.
How Deforestation Affects The Climate And Natural Habitats
Deforestation in Malawi has a detrimental effect to the climate and natural habitat of plants and communities. It leads to disruption of certain natural processes such as hydrological and ecological cycles in different countries. In Malawi for example, deforestation leads to loss of about 30,000 hectares of forest land yearly for different reasons that mostly revolve around the growing demand for forest products.
As a result of deforestation, countries such as Malawi are at risk of falling victim to natural catastrophes as even the weather patterns are affected leading to flooding and more adverse conditions that include desertification due to water cycle disruption, fewer crops, increased greenhouse effect and soil erosion.
Causes Of Deforestation In Malawi Include
- Population growth. With the rise of urbanization, people end up cutting trees in order to create space for human settlement.
- Lack of awareness on the dangers of deforestation
- Rise in farming activities whereby people burn the trees in order to open up areas for farming activities, in what is known as slash and burn agriculture. Tobacco growing has also resulted in cutting of more trees
- Increasing demand for wood to be used as charcoal for cooking as a lot of people use three-stone fires
- Timber extraction whereby trees are cut down for furniture or to be used as building materials
- Insufficient laws to curb illegal logging
Sustainable Solutions For Deforestation
Trees play a very vital role in protecting our environment and they should be protected if our planet is to remain sustainable. As mentioned earlier, Malawi once deployed the military to protect the trees in different forest areas in the country. However, more needs to be done to ensure deforestation in Malawi is curbed. Some sustainable solutions include:
Land use planning
The urban centres in Malawi grow with each passing day and there is need to accommodate even more people in the urban areas. The number of people who participate in agriculture is also on the rise. It is therefore important to create land use planning techniques that centre on environmentally friendly ways of catering for the urban sprawl and demand for agricultural products. An example is placing more emphasis on urban agriculture and lessening both the urban and suburban sprawl.
Sensitization of the public
Educative programs to sensitize the people of Malawi on the dangers of deforestation might seem simple but go a long way in making a difference. It is a workable solution. Through these, the people are made aware of the causes, effects and ways of curbing deforestation. They get to learn from people who have experienced firsthand negative effects of deforestation and can as a result join to combat this clearing of forest cover.
There are different environmental programs and organizations that take charge of protection of wildlife and conservation of rainforests. Joining of these organizations with a common goal to preserve, restore and protect forests makes it easier to instill sound forest management mechanisms.
Going green refers to re-using and recycling and such methods of production and utilization immensely reduces deforestation. Paper, plastic and use of wood is linked to forest destruction. Going green therefore reduces dependence on natural resources and trees.
Introducing Strict Laws on Logging
The government and different organizations in Malawi could introduce stricter laws governing forest preservation policies and curbing illegal logging for timber and other resources. These laws must be advanced and enforced in order to stop people who, despite knowing the effects of deforestation, choose to go for the immediate economic gains and overlook the long-term damage.
This is where different communities come together with their local government and organizations to start planting trees as a way of promoting environmental sustainability.
Replanting or reforestation
This refers to the process whereby trees are replanted or restored where they have been reduced either by deforestation or natural occurrences such as fires.
There are certain organizations and projects in Malawi that plant forest cover such as the Chintheche ( Root to Fruit) and Zomba (TREEZ).
Root to Fruit is a small scale project that was started with a goal of growing over 10,000 seedlings on the Chintheche Inn property. It is a tree planting project under the Central African Wilderness Safaris (CAWS). Over the years the project grew in number of seedlings planted and attracted more partners that led to the growth of Root to Fruit Limited. The organization provides people with the opportunity to buy and plant trees in Malawi.
This is a project that was started by the Zomba Forest Lodge and has been working with the local communities and Forest Department in Malawi to plant trees. Which of also dedicates itself to prevention of fires to conserve the already existent planted trees.
Contact us to find out to help with deforestation in Malawi. With each booking we help plant trees in Malawi to offset climate change and restore the natural beauty of Malawi.