Government has called on all Malawians to join forces in planting trees as deforestation is the worst enemy of the country’s socio-economic development.
Chief Secretary to the Government George Mkondiwa said this during the second joint tree planting exercise at Dzalanyama Forest Reserve in Lilongwe recently that deforestation affects energy production, food security and leads to floods, among others.
“It is the worst enemy that we are currently having. If we don’t [change], we will wake up one day with no water reserves in the country,” he warned.
Mkondiwa said because of the country’s increasing population, more trees are being cut down, hence the need to plant even more.
He said: “In my view, we have to double or triple our efforts. Though we have tree planting seasons, what is happening is that we plant a lot of trees but the management of those trees is not satisfactory and we end up not achieving what we want.”
Lilongwe Water Board chairperson Francis Mbilizi bemoaned the extent of deforestation at Dzalanyama Forest Reserve, saying it has repercussions on the board’s efficiency.
“Lilongwe City depends on the water that comes from Lilongwe River and Dzalanyama Forest is the source of the river. If the forest is destroyed as is happening right now, one day Lilongwe will be dry.
“This is an urgent call on everybody that we need to mobilise and arrest the destruction that is happening to this forest so that Lilongwe River can continue to flow,” Mbilizi said.
He said his board faces problems in efficiently pumping water from its various dams on Lilongwe River because of siltation.
During the tree planting exercise themed ‘Arrest Deforestation by Planting Trees and Conserving Forests’, 2 000 indigenous trees were planted.
Dzalanyama Forest was gazetted in 1922 as a reserve and covers 98 000 hectares.