The Department of Forestry has handed over management of Matandwe Forest Reserve in Nsanje to the local citizenry.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of forest co-management agreement recently, assistant regional forestry officer for the South, Sabina Manda, who is also coordinator for Improved Forest Management for Sustainable
Livelihoods Programme, said the arrangement will help in sustainable conservation of the forest reserve.
“The signing ceremony symbolises government’s trust in the locals’ capacity in managing the reserve on their own. The people will also benefit from selling forest products as they will get 100 percent from domestic sales whereas in terms of commercial sales they will be netting 50 percent of the proceeds, 40 percent will go to government and 10 percent will be used for local forest management initiatives,” said Manda.
Acting Senior Chief Tengani said the initiative will help in reducing the perennial twin problems of drought and floods in the area.
“People in this area are now highly motivated towards planting trees since this has given them a sense of ownership of the forest reserve. Cases of encroachment into the forest should be a thing of the past,” he said.