The Reforestation of the Environment and Ecosystem of Zomba
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it is not.
Dr Seuss - The Lorax
WHY ARE WE HERE?
It's a big question and it would be impossible to answer it fully here but here are some of the most basic reasons:
Malawi suffers from the fastest rate of deforestion in Sub-Saharan Africa and right now, 95% of the population still rely on firewood for both cooking and heating. Firewood is becoming more and more scarce and if we don't start planting some trees now, people are going to starve!!
Some say it's too late, we say it's never too late - we have to at least try!
But aside from firewood, people also need water and unfortunatately, there is a direct link between the cutting down of trees and streams drying out... so what should we do? Plant trees - lots of them :)
And those are just two of the main reasons for planting trees - here are a few others:
- trees provide food, shade and shelter
- trees stabilise the soil and prevent erosion
-trees fix nitrogen into the soil making it more fertile to grow other crops
-trees lower air temperature and induce rainfall by evaporation of water from their leaves
-trees filter our air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen
-trees provide protection against rain, hail and sleet and reduces storm run-off and flooding
Shall we go on?
We want to go...
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
Our plan is still in the making but it mainly entails planting as many trees as possible and we are starting in the water catchment areas so as to prevent them from drying up and depriving the villages of the water they so desperately need.
We are planting fruit trees as a source of food, fast growing trees that can be coppiced for firewood and trees rich in nitrogen to help fertilise the soil.
Any trees are welcome - indigenous and non-indigenous, Malawi cannot afford to be picky!
The reality is that Malawi needs trees full-stop.
Planting a variety of trees together means creating an ecosystem rather than a monoculture.
Our aim is for the replanted areas to act both as a conservation area and a food forest, serving both the local communities and the wildlife, both flora and fauna.
In 2016 we planted 4 hectares of trees which translates as over 5,000 trees... which sounds like a lot... but it isn't!
For every hectare of land, we need to plant around 1,300 trees... And there are many hectares to go!
In 2017we planted another 8 hectares - so over 12,000 trees :)
In 2018, we haev continued to expand the areas planted (another 4 hectares) but we have also worked very hard to protect areas as trees have naturally regenerated but need a helping hand to survive their first few years. We have also teamed with the Zomba Tour Guide Association on the Plateau and funded the creation of an indigenous tree nursery so that in the future non pine trees can be replanted.
And now in 2019, we are proud of the fact that the Plateau and the slopes have suffered fewer fires than in previous years so we hope that our messages are getting across. More planting and checking on the seedlings planted last year :)
How to help:
$10= 5 trees
$20 = 10 trees
$50 = 25 trees
$100 = 50 trees
No, trees are not cheap!
The cost of each tree includes:
- The cost of each tree (they are not free!)
- The costs of clearing the area, making the holes, planting the trees
- The cost of maintaining the site (keeping the young trees clear of bush and other vegetation for 5 years - until they are big enough to stand higher than the surrounding bush)
- The cost of creating fire-breaks to protect the planted areas from fires
- The cost of actually fighting the fires