In honour of Forestry Week here in Malawi, Lilongwe Wildlife Centre organised a tree planting initiative in the local community. We gathered at a nearby school and, following an introduction from our General Manager, Jonathan Vaughan, we were treated to a morning of presentations from the kids. As the sun shone down on us, we watched plays, poems and songs, all about how fabulous trees are and the incredible things they do for us, including food, resources and something I think we all needed at the time – shade!
We then proceeded to the front of the school, where everyone joined forces to plant ‘a tree for each person, every year’ – this year’s theme. Hundreds of trees were planted, and emphasis was placed on the importance of tree management, as they are going to need plenty of looking after to ensure that they continue to grow. We hope that this will follow the success of our previous tree planting schemes.
As part of our ‘Green & Clean’ project we have planted over 20,000 trees in local communities in an effort to try and counter some of the large scale deforestation that is occurring in Malawi. The fast growing population means that pressure on natural resources is at an all time high, with the country suffering from the world’s 5th highest rate of deforestation. Habitats that should be home to so much of Africa’s diverse wildlife are being lost and the increasing human-wildlife conflict is putting the lives of wild animals at risk, with the illegal bushmeat and pet trades still commonly practiced.
It is our hope that initiatives like these will teach local communities of the benefits that trees have and how lost we would be without them.