Traditional leaders in the districts of Mulanje and Phalombe have signed by-laws in a bid to protect the endangered Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve.
One of the by-laws, for examples, suggests a 10 year imprisonment with hard labour for anyone caught cutting down trees in the Forest.
Phalombe District Commissioner (DC) Patrick Kalilombe, who alongside his Mulanje counterpart brought together the chiefs, said “it was necessary to hold the meeting with the chiefs because they are equally concerned with the state of the Forest reserve.”
Prior to the signing of the by-laws, the chiefs underwent a 2-day workshop at Hapuwani Lodge in Mulanje in which they discussed issues to do with the Forest such as the setting in of firebreaks and increasing the number of employees.
Senior Chief Chikumbu of Mulanje said the “by-laws will go a long way in protecting the Forest Reserve.”
Mulanje Mountain, one of the tallest mountains in Africa, is one of the most endangered natural resources in Malawi due to mining activities.
The Mountain has a very rich forest reserve, which is a home to a rich and diverse endemic plant and animal species. It is also a catchment of headwaters and a source of nine perennial rivers and streams.
It measures approximately 13 by 16 miles and has a maximum elevation of 3 002 m at its highest point, Sapitwa peak.