The massive loss of trees in the country has pushed traditional leaders in Rumphi to introduce by-laws to safeguard forests in the district.
Termed Resource Use Management Rules, the bylaws come at a time the Department of Forestry estimates that almost three out of every 100 trees are being wiped out every year.
The dos and don’ts spell out fines against people caught felling trees.
Speaking when the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development planted 3 500 trees in Mlowe, Traditional Authority Mwamlowe said wanton cutting down of trees has disturbed water supply.
The community along Lake Malawi decried massive soil erosion and siltation due to deforestation.
“Anyone found cutting down trees will be asked to pay a goat,” said Mwamlowe.
District forestry officer Gift Nyirenda blamed the worrisome deforestation rate, estimated at 2.4 percent, on tobacco farming and overdependence on wood fuel.
The fishing community relies on firewood for drying fish.
Rumphi district commissioner Allan Chitete pledged to support the by-laws which mirror traditional leaders’ role in conserving natural resources.
The council plans to plant 175 000 trees to cover 21 hectares in Mhuju, Ntchenachena and Ng’onga. n