+265 888 91 4991 dean@cyclemalawi.org
+265 888 91 4991 dean@cyclemalawi.org
Help conservation efforts towards environmental sustainability in Malawi

Responsible Travel

Part of each trip goes towards combating deforestation and creating sustainable community projects between the surrounding communities and natural habitats that you will cycle through. Each tour helps conservation efforts of endangered habitats in Malawi. Riders can enjoy each cycling tour knowing each trip will be making a valuable contribution in saving the environment. 

 

Current Projects

T.R.E.E.Z

The Re-forestation of the Environmental Ecosystem of Zomba

Help re-plant Zomba Forest Plateau. Deforestation has dramatically increased in the past year, due to forest fires, population growth, land encroachment & unlicensed chopping of trees for charcoal, firewood & climate change.

This project is is run by Zomba Forest Lodge (www.zombaforestlodge.com) and concentrates on protecting and creating a natural ecosystem that will be beneficial to both to the local communities and the fauna and flora of Zomba Plateau, the Forest Reserve, and the surrounding area

OVERVIEW

This project concentrates on protecting and creating a natural ecosystem that will be beneficial to both the local communities and the fauna and flora of the Zomba Plateau, the Forest Reserve, and the surrounding area.

They understand that the Forestry Department regulations do not allow the harvesting of timber within 50m either side of a stream; unfortunately, in practice this has not always been the case. TREEZ therefore would like to assist the Forestry Department in protecting these areas, and in doing so, creating Water Catchment Conservation Corridors (WCCCs)

A well-managed and maintained commercial forestry plantation is a vital natural economic resource for a growing economy like Malawi’s and we do not want to infringe its’ viability. Rather, the intentions behind the founding of TREEZ are to work hand in hand with the Forestry Department in protecting and conserving the integrity of the Forest Reserve whilst helping to provide water, food, wood and potentially income to the local communities.

The Plantation Manager for Zomba and the local councillor (who used to work for the Forestry Department) helped them identify 40 hectares of land along several watercourses that will initially be allocated to this project.

OUR GOALS:

  • Planting trees in conservation corridors along water catchments which will help to stabilise the water table levels, thus protecting the water which the villagers depend on
  • Planting fruit trees in these catchment corridors will provide food for the local communities. This will be along the lines of the permaculture-agroforestry technique of “Food Forests”
  • Planting nitrogen-rich trees amongst maize fields and gardens which will help to fertilise the soil, thus enabling the regeneration long-term sustainability of the natural habitat. This will also help protect against soil erosion.
  • Planting indigenous and non-indigenous fast-growing trees in woodlots that can be coppiced for firewood, thus the aforementioned trees can be harvested for domestic use by the villagers and for micro-commercial use by the woodcutters. The money for the wood harvested by woodcutters will be retained by the Forestry Department as it is done at present. Providing woodcutters with legal, and sustainable, source of trees will therefore cut down on the illegal loss of commercial pine.

HOW THE PROJECT WILL BE IMPLEMENTED:

  • The official designation of WCCCs.
  • The demarcation of an extra 20m either side of the WCCC’s for indigenous and non-indigenous tree planting for firewood.
  • The creation of firebreaks separating the zones from the commercial pine plantation thus helping to protect both areas.

HOW WILL IT BENEFIT THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES

  • Safekeeping of the water catchments.
  • Creation of bee-keeping schemes along each WCCCs
  • Provision of simple, easy to construct, solar-dryers so that fruit/vegetables can be dried for later consumption/sale. This will greatly help with year-round availability of nutrition and potential income generation.
  • Harvest of the fruit/vegetables growing within the WCCCs and the increased availability of irrigation for gardens along the catchments outside the Forest Reserve boundaries.
  • Provision of firewood from a managed and sustainable source.
  • Employment through piecework for clearing, pitting, planting and weeding of the designated areas. Plus the cutting and maintenance of firebreaks.
  • The situating of bee hives within the WCCCs. This will provide another avenue of potential income generation within the surrounding communities.
  • Sponsorship of local football teams. This sponsorship is offered in return for the teams aiding in the cutting and maintenance of firebreaks, provision of volunteer fire fighters and patrolmen, and helping sensitize local villages to the benefits of conservation.

Through active participation of the local communities we hope to engender a sense of empowerment and pride in the protection and maintenance of the environment and its ecosystem. TREEZ aims to develop an attitude of “enlightened self-interest” amongst the local communities around the Forest Reserve; whereby the communities see, understand, and realise both the direct and long-term benefits from helping to conserve the eco-system and environment of Zomba Plateau.

CURRENT STATUS

So far, they have completed the re-planting of two areas of WCCCs one 4 hectare site, and one 10.5 hectare site, a total of 17,980 trees; Zomba Forest Lodge financed this, together with donations we have received from guests, and we hope to raise the funds to complete the 40 hectares in this area over the course of the subsequent planting seasons.

Finally, they hope that the conservation areas, and TREEZ as a whole, could be considered pilot schemes and working models that can be potentially rolled out to the whole of the Zomba Forest Reserve and perhaps to other national Forest Reserves as well.