by Nebart Mtika
On 18th September, LWT joined Dzalanyama forest conservation seminar at Golden Peacock in Lilongwe. The seminar was organized by the Project for Conservation and Sustainable Management of Dzalanyama Forest Reserve (COSMA-DFR) with support from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The purpose of the seminar was to discuss roles of various stakeholders towards saving Dzalanyama Forest reserve which is the main water catchment area for Lilongwe City. The big challenge is that there has been rampant deforestation and forest degradation through illegal charcoal burning and firewood collection which means if those problems continue, Lilongwe city will have no water in the next 10 years.
In his opening remarks, Dr Clement Chilima, Director of Department of Forestry, who graced the occasion, encouraged all stakeholders to work together towards problems facing Dzalanyama. He further described the issues facing Dzalanyama as worrisome and national concerns. He also highlighted government efforts to improve the situation including: dedication of tree planting season to Dzalanyama, Appeal from ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining and deployment of Malawi Defense Force Soldiers to the reserve as clear indication that the government is taking the issues very seriously.
After a series of presentations and discussions, it was resolved that all stakeholders should take part in conservation of forest reserve if the reserve is to be revamped .It could be through financial support or actual promotion of conservation practices within the reserve. It was highlighted that LWT`s advanced education program would be one of the solutions towards making people understand the value of the Forest reserve, therefore there is a need to facilitate collaborated efforts. The seminar also discussed importance of doing practices that will ensure that trees planted survive, it was noted that many are interested in planting not caring.
Other stakeholders that attended the seminar include: Malawi Environment Endowment Trust (MEET), Malawi and Wildlife Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM), LUANAR, Be forward Wanderers Football Club, Department of Forestry, Information, Timveni TV, Chibuku products among others.