Entire length of Mulunguzi River now a water catchment conservation corridor

Zomba Forest Lodge, through its Reforestation of the Environment and Ecosystem of Zomba (TREEZ) project, has covered the entire length of Zomba Plateau’s Mulunguzi River as a water catchment conservation corridor of indigenous trees planted on Saturday.

The event was well patronised
Ambali, the environmental District Officer for Zomba
The exercise was filmed to be made into a environmental conservation video

This will both help ensure the future of Zomba City’s water supply and will preserve a beautiful nature conservation zone for tourists, both local and international.

The exercise was carried out by TREEZ in conjunction with Zomba Tour Guides Association, which the Forest Lodge also sponsors for the body to offer its services to tourists in a professional manner.

“I would like to give a big thank you to all who attended the exercise, most especially for the Forestry Office and its staff, who were led by Sylvia Ambali, the environmental District Officer for Zomba,” said TREEZ’s director, Tom Inch, who is also Zomba Forest Lodge’s owner and manager.

And he also applauded Zomba Tour Guides Association for all their hard work, saying: “working together hand in hand we can protect the future of our beloved Plateau”.

He also took cognizance of the support that TREEZ received through last year’s Run4Reforestation Charity half marathon, whose proceeds went towards various projects including setting up an indigenous seedling nursery, whose seedlings were collected and germinated on the Plateau soil itself.

Inch said this year’s Run4Reforestation and Sustainability Fair will take place on September 5.

In partnership with the Department of Forestry, FRIM, Southern Region Water Board, local Timber Cooperatives and other willing stakeholders, Inch says he firmly believes Zomba Plateau Forest Reserve can be a leading light in Malawi’s fight against deforestation and climate change.

He added that the Water Catchment Zone’s natural regrowth and regeneration has been encouraged and maintained.

Established in 2014, TREEZ has been working with local communities and the Forestry Department to reforest over 18 hectares (over 22,000 trees) along streams on the south western slopes of Zomba Plateau.

 

According to its website, www.zombatreez.com, the project started off being about reforesting and protecting water catchment areas but they soon learned that it wasn’t just about tree planting.

“Over half our budget goes into fire prevention work which includes creating fire breaks to protect areas from fires and allowing the natural regeneration of trees,” says the intro on the website.

For 2020, TREEZ plans to construct watch towers on the Plateau to be manned thoughout the dry season to help them respond to fires swiftly.

TREEZ also sponsors football and netball teams to help with firefighting and maintenance of the planted trees and also pays patrol personnel to provide early warnings of fires and also provides tools to help with all activities.

In 2018, TREEZ held its first Environmental Awareness concert at Nankhunda Primary School, for the local communities, with Malawian pop star Moses Mkwawa as the main act.

It also organises Run4Reforestation, a sporting event as part of raising more awareness and and to raise funds for its administration.

In 2019, it added a ‘Battle of the Bands’ to the Environmental Awareness concert, with 8 schools competing for the best written song about the environment, judged by that year’s headline star act Jay-Jay C amongst others artists, which was recorded and aired by Zodiak Radio.

TREEZ has also organized as this year’s new invention an environmental education programme, to be taught in 8 of the primary schools neighbouring the Plateau.

In an earlier interview, Inch had said Malawi has lost 85% of its trees in the last 30 years, and at current rates of population growth and deforestation, by 2030 the country will no longer have enough biofuel to sustain the population.

He had also said deforestation has a direct impact on water resources and that TREEZ involves the local community in as much as possible in its conservation efforts.

TREEZ has also helped the communities to develop their own woodlots, fruit orchards and agroforestry planting around maize gardens in conjunction with traditional leaders.

The Run 4 Reforestation half marathon, that is organized along the trails of Zomba Plateau, started in 2018 and its second edition was held on September 7 last year, sponsored by Old Mutual, CFAO, Pick-A-Part, Energem Malawi and hosted by Sunbird Ku Chawe.

The aim of the race is to raise funds towards enhancing the conservation and reforestation awareness campaigns as well as to establish the seedling nursery.

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