Malawi Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Atupele Muluzi on Friday launched an appeal against deforestation and forest degradation in Dzalanyama Forest Reserve.
He said in Lilongwe that government is making an appeal to stakeholders and interested organisations to support the initiative to stop the alarming deforestation and forest degradation taking place in Dzalanyama which is an important area.
“All stakeholders need to recognise that one of the most important forests in the country is under an emergency situation in as far as deforestation or forest degradation is concerned. Decisive action is immediately required in order to reverse the current serious situation,” said Muluzi.
He added that Dzalanyama is one of the most valuable forests in terms of the sustainability of our country when it comes to water supply, food security and economic growth.
The reserve is the source for Lilongwe River which supplies water to the capital city through Kamuzu Dam 1 and 2 and the catchment also forms some part of the largest agricultural production areas for maize production, annual yield in the three districts of Lilongwe, Dedza and Mchinji which accounts for approximately 30nper cent of the national total yield, he explained.
He bemoaned that the reserve is being seriously deforested due to the illegal charcoal production and firewood collection.
According to him, about 70 per cent of charcoal consumed in the three districts for domestic use is being produced in the reserve.
Consequently, Dzalanyama Forest has suffered massive forest loss in the recent past. The amount of annual biomass loss is equivalent to almost 10 per cent of the total stock.
“This implies that the forest will be completely exhausted in the next 10 years if nothing is done to reverse the situation,” he observed.
Muluzi therefore called upon all stakeholders such as the private sector, communities surrounding the reserve and residents of the capital city who benefit from Dzalanyama in one way or another to provide unreserved support towards addressing deforestation and forest degradation in the reserve.