Dedza district forestry department has ganged up with various Timber Producers to plant over 1.5 million trees during the 2017/18 tree planting season.
Dedza district assistant forestry officer Blessings Chingaipe disclosed this to Malawi24 in an interview on Friday.
Chingaipe said the trees will be planted in 93 hectares of land in both government plantations and various communities in the district.
He pointed out that part of the trees will be planted in Dedza Mountain to replace the trees which have been felled.
Recently trees in 15 hectares of land were cut down in the mountain by various cooperatives with authority from the department after the trees surpassed the recommended lifespan of over 25 years.
Dedza mountain forestry reserve was gazetted in 1926 as having over 3200 hectares of land which comprises of 1800 hectares for industrial plantations and 1400 hectares for forestry reserves which keeps water springs that fit into the water reservoirs for household use.
“There is an agreement after the sowing season that they (timber producers) have to take part in planting the trees and this year they are supporting us by planting 19 hectares.
“So in this year’s tree planting season we are much prepared hence we have planned to plant over 1.5 million trees throughout the district,” he said.
He however expressed concern over the tendency of some people who cut down trees carelessly in the mountain.
Last week, Dedza district zone manager for Central Region Water Board (CRWB) Humphrey Kamwendo told Malawi24 that water availability is being affected heavily by human interventions which hinder the board from supplying water to residents in the district.
He said: “Basically, water crisis is a trend during the months of November and December because unavailability of water is exacerbated by dominant challenges we are meeting of human interventions such as cutting down trees carelessly which lead to climatic changes.”
On this, Chingaipe said the forestry department is working together with the board (CRWB) to ensure that the areas are well rehabilitated.
He also disclosed that the two government entities will sensitize communities around the mountain on the dangers of vandalising the forest which keeps water springs used by the board in tapping water for people’s use.
Chingaipe further said that the board is yet to partner with non-governmental organizations to help in the tree planting season.
“We would like to encourage people to be part of this tree planting initiative, the trees we plant also help them, for instance women do come and collect firewood in the mountain so let them take part in this,” he said.
Every year the tree planting season is expected to be opened on 15 December and closed in April of the other year but this year President Peter Mutharika will launch the planting season later than the recommended date.