Queen Elizabeth II botanist Stephen Blackmore has expressed satisfaction with how communities in Mulanje and Phalombe districts are managing Mulanje Cedar nurseries.
Blackmore, who is also Darwin Initiative chairperson, said this on Tuesday after visiting Kazembe Cedar Nursery in Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkanda in Mulanje.
The nursery is being taken care of by 14 people and has 34 000 Mulanje Cedar seedlings.
During the visit, Blackmore was accompanied by Botanic Garden Conservation International (BGCI) members from United Kingdom (UK).
“I had been in Malawi for 40 years but during that stay, I never saw communities taking part in conserving nature by, among other things, managing cedar nursery seedlings.
“I am impressed with how communities are being involved in bringing back cedar at Mulanje Mountain as a national treasure,” he said.
Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) and its implementing partners Forest Research Institute of Malawi (Frim) and BGCI are taking part in the conservation of Mulanje Cedar.
Frim deputy director Tembo Chanyenga said Mulanje Cedar is unique because it is resistant to termites and is good for timber.
“As Frim, we call all Malawians of goodwill to take care of Mulanje Cedar. To date, communities have economically benefitted through part payments for key activities such as nursery construction, port filling and planting,” he said.
Kazembe Cedar Nursery Committee chairperson Forster Kasamuka appealed to the implementing partners to protect the trees from bushfires.
The visit brought together chiefs from Mulanje and Phalombe and officials from the department of forestry and MMCT. n