Rates of deforesetation in Malawi are amongst the highest in the world, degrading the land and threatening the viability of local communities.
RIPPLE Africa have an ambitious plan to halt the spread of deforestation which is proceeding northwards across the country and now threatens the picturesque Nkhata Bay District of Nothern Malawi. In perhaps the largest re-afforestation project ever undertaken in Malawi, 4,000 square kms has been allocated by local chiefs on which to grow 4 million trees. This endeavour will be supported by RIPPLE Africa who are helping locals to establish community tree nurseries each growing 3,000-6,000 trees.
In 2006 Restore Our Planet supported this work by fully funding the set up and maintenance of 50 tree nurseries to grow 500,000 saplings to be planted out under community forest resource management schemes. These trees include fast growing species for woodfuel and timber to be planted in managed woodlots, as well as indigenous hardwood and fruit trees that will be used to re-establish forest cover, maintain the soil and water courses, and provide livelihood opportunities for the local communities. The project’s holistic approach is driven by local communities and includes facilitating the local production and marketing of fuel efficient wood burning stoves in order to decrease the burden on local forest resources, along with education and training in community forest resource management, composting and other sustainable land use practices. Over 40,000 households now have a Changa Moto fuel efficient cookstove. Due to the success of the first nurseries we agreed to provide funds for a further 50 new nurseries in 2007 and a further 25 in 2008. Since the project began in 2006, over 175 community groups have been helped to plant over 5 million trees.
Nursery at Mwaya Malawi near Matete.
Photo: © Ripple Africa