Banda made the revelation on Friday at Champhira at the launch of Mzimba District Tree Planting season which was organized by the M’mbelwa District Council with support from Ripple Africa.
He said wanton cutting down of trees for fuel wood and charcoal production is the major cause of massive forest loss in the district.
“We are losing almost 700 hectares of forest in protected areas and another 300 hectares in the customary land every year. In total, we are losing 1, 000 hectares of forest cover every year,” said Banda.
He said that with the help of various stakeholders, the district intends to plant about 10 million trees during the 2022/23 Tree Planting Season to restore some of the degraded and deforested areas in the district.
The DFO however bemoaned that the survival rate of newly planted trees is not satisfactory and attributed the challenge to forestry fires and poor livestock management.
. “This is why we are sensitizing communities to tame their livestock away from the newly planted trees besides intensifying firefighting messages and techniques in and around forests,” he said.
Country Director for Ripple Africa, Force Ngwira said besides supporting the council in organizing the ceremony, his organization targets to plant two million trees in the district of which 85 percent have already been planted.
Ngwira said that afforestation initiatives will go a long way to minimizing the impact of climate change and providing income to local Malawians through the sustainable harvesting of forest products.