The Save Our Cedar Campaign is gaining ground with about 700 000 cedar seedlings planted on Mulanje Mountain in the last two years under the initiative aimed at restoring the species.
The campaign, launched in 2016 and ended in March this year, was coordinated by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) and the Forest Research Institute of Malawi.
Speaking in an interview during a meeting in Mulanje on Thursday, BGCI secretary general Paul Smith said surrounding communities, apart from restoring cedar on the mountain, have changed their perception as regards planting of the tree.
“The most important thing is that we now know how to grow Mulanje cedar on a large-scale. We also now know it can be grown not only on Mulanje Mountain but across Malawi,” he said.
In a separate interview, MMCT programme officer responsible for monitoring and evaluation Henry Chinthuli said the project also achieved some of the core objectives.
He said: “People were supposed to benefit through working in nurseries surrounding the mountain, which we also achieved.”
On his part, Likhubula plantation manager McArthur Awali expressed optimism that there will be a sense of ownership on the nurseries that still have seedlings.
Cedar was declared a national tree in 1984 for its durability and use in construction and woodcarving.
However, for the past 10 years, it was under threat due to careless cutting and illegal loggers.