Authorities in Neno have expressed shock at the level of deforestation in the district.
Assistant Forestry Officer for Neno, Aubrey Macheso said Lisungwi area in the district has lost 60 percent of its forest cover and there is need for concerted efforts to replace the trees.
“The problem is that people in this area depend on charcoal selling but the good thing is we have planted early maturing trees that also retain nutrients to the soil like Nsangu, Mulinga and Chammwamba,” said Macheso.
Like many rivers in the area, Lisungwi is now exposed. Its vegetative cover is gone and when it pours heavily, floods are an obvious occurrence. It also passes through massively deforested areas on its way to the Shire River.
Hunger Project has since mobilised communities to dress up river banks and more than 800 thousand trees are expected to be planted in the area in the next three years.
Mackenzie Mkalapa, Head of Programmes for Hunger Project said: “it was very hard at first to work in this area since they fully depend on charcoal but then we come up with other ways of which they can be making money like banki nkhonde.“
In his remarks, Councillor for Lisungwi Ward, Patrick Mwale said the communities in the area are keen to reverse the environmental damage.