August 01, 2017

Malawi Caucus Members Visit Tanzania, Develop Recommendations for Forest Management

The delegation visited Mount Rungwe Natural Forest Reserve in order to better understand management of forest reserves.

The delegation noted several key areas worth emulating, including joint forest management whereby surrounding communities are involved in the management of forests through forest protection and patrols of gazetted forest reserves; incentivizing surrounding communities to carry out patrols in a committed manner to protect the forests; subscriptions to satellite surveillance through SADC to monitor forest reserves, which alerts officials of any fires that might erupt in the forests; and collaborating with non-governmental organizations to come up with alternative sources of energy to avoid over-dependency on fuel wood, which puts pressure on the forests.

The MPCC members also visited Sao Hill Forest Plantation and Mikumi National Park and engaged with Tanzanian Government officials and members of the Tanzanian Parliamentary Friends of the Environment (Conservation Caucus).

From these visits, the delegation has made the following recommendations, among others, to the Parliament of Malawi:

The Government of Malawi and its relevant stakeholders should intensity joint forest management to incorporate the surrounding communities more in forest management and protection.

  • The Government of Malawi could consider venturing into resin tapping of pine trees on its forest plantations as part of revenue diversification.

  • Instead of using armed officers, the Government of Malawi could consider engaging surrounding communities in the management of forests and national parks and providing them with allowances after patrols.

  • The Government of Malawi should consider putting a ban on timber exportation to control deforestation, which is happening at an alarming rate.

  • The Government of Malawi should consider allocating land to interested individuals to have forest plantations, an initiative which could assist in afforestation efforts on most of the idle bare land.

  • The Government of Malawi should consider the establishment of a Forest Agency or Authority which will be empowered to manage the forest reserves in an efficient manner rather than relying on the Department of Forestry, which currently operates as both the policy developer and implementer.

  • The Government of Malawi should review penalties for all forest products offenders as well as procedures that are followed in the prosecution of cases related to mismanagement of forests.

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