Forest Conservation

BRIEF SUMMARY

Key Benefits

What We Have Achieved

How We Work

The Project’s Future

What It Costs
By donating to this project, you will help RIPPLE Africa continue to protect Malawi’s forested hills. Forest conservation is expensive. Staff salaries, meetings, fuel, transport, and education programmes all cost money. However, RIPPLE Africa’s forest conservation project runs largely on a grassroots basis, utilising local partnerships and volunteer committees to make the project as cost effective as possible.


FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT
Why Is It So Important?
Deforestation in Africa is a huge problem, and in Malawi, an area of forest the size of a football pitch is cut down every 10 minutes! For this reason RIPPLE Africa runs a forest conservation project in Malawi, Africa. This has one ultimate aim:

We are doing this by:

For years, RIPPLE Africa has worked to fight deforestation in Malawi through tree planting and fuel-efficient cookstove projects.

However, while RIPPLE Africa has been fighting deforestation in populated lowland areas, the charity has watched in sadness as the mature indigenous forests in the hills of Malawi’s Nkhata Bay District continue to disappear.

  • A steep slope showing deforestation in the Kandoli Hills which will now be protected
    A steep slope showing deforestation in the Kandoli Hills which will now be protected
  • The hills in the distance have been rapidly deforested but, hopefully, the trees will regenerate with conservation
    The hills in the distance have been rapidly deforested but, hopefully, the trees will regenerate with conservation

These forested hills are a primary factor in regulating the annual rainfall in the area and, frustratingly, deforestation here is pointless:

Just a handful of farmers are responsible for all this destruction through the practice of shifting cultivation. The practice is appalling, selfish, and illegal in Malawi. However, in the hills there is no regulation, so it continues unabated. The farmers:

  • In November, the dry season, fires are everywhere
    In November, the dry season, fires are everywhere
  • This practice of slash and burn will now be illegal in the protected areas and will reduce the deforestation in Malawi, Africa
    This practice of slash and burn will now be illegal in the protected areas and will reduce the deforestation in Malawi, Africa
  • One farmer cut down these trees and burnt them where they fell
    One farmer cut down these trees and burnt them where they fell

RIPPLE Africa is doing everything it can to combat deforestation in Malawi on all fronts. However, RIPPLE Africa’s forest conservation project is special as it is not only targeting deforestation, but it is also saving the forested hills responsible for regulating much of the rainfall in the district! With 90% of the population in Malawi gaining their income from subsistence farming, rainfall and climate stability are not just issues for environmentalists, they are inextricably linked to poverty, health, and survival for local people.

What We Have Achieved

RIPPLE Africa started the project in the Kandoli Hills in 2010. Protected areas were identified, bylaws were passed, and the RIPPLE Africa forest conservation project was born – making TV, radio, and newspaper headlines in Malawi!

  • When land is cleared, fires often burn out of control and destroy people's homes
    When land is cleared, fires often burn out of control and destroy people’s homes
  • Force Ngwira, Environmental Manager
    Force Ngwira, Environmental Manager
  • RIPPLE Africa has held a number of meetings in the field so that stakeholders can see the deforestation firsthand
    RIPPLE Africa has held a number of meetings in the field so that stakeholders can see the deforestation firsthand

The project has been very successful and people who have broken the new bylaws have been arrested, charged and fined and in some cases sent to prison.

In addition, the project is highlighting the importance of forest conservation to local people.

How We Work

In 2010, RIPPLE Africa held a series of meetings with the District Commissioner, the District Forestry Department, Traditional Authorities (Senior Chiefs), Village Headmen, and volunteer Conservation Committee Members at community level to discuss the options for protecting the forested hills and reducing deforestation in Malawi.

The joint committee learned they had the power to create local bylaws to legally protect their own forest land. Many Traditional Authorities and Village Headmen had been writing to RIPPLE Africa for years, begging the charity for help on the issue forest conservation and deforestation, and now RIPPLE Africa could help them to take action.

  • A meeting with the District Commissioner and the District Forest Officer to discuss planned bylaws for the conservation areas
    A meeting with the District Commissioner and the District Forest Officer to discuss planned bylaws for the conservation areas
  • The official signing of the bylaws in TA Fukamapiri's area will help to reduce deforestation in Malawi, Africa
    The official signing of the bylaws in TA Fukamapiri’s area will help to reduce deforestation in Malawi, Africa
  • A picture of all of the stakeholders for the Fukamapiri conservation project
    A picture of all of the stakeholders for the Fukamapiri conservation project

Local Traditional Authorities, Village Headmen, and Conservation Committees nominated the areas they wanted to protect, and RIPPLE Africa worked with the senior officials to draft the bylaws which banned all farming, burning, wood harvesting, and settlement in the protected forest hills.

Passing the bylaws was essential, but success depends on constant monitoring. RIPPLE Africa is working in partnership with the Nkhata Bay District Forestry Department to patrol the protected areas, and employs additional forest guards, provides the fuel and motorbikes necessary to patrol such a huge area, and holds regular meetings with the Conservation Committees to ascertain reports of any illegal activity in the protected forests.

RIPPLE Africa’s environmental team also works with the local communities to educate people on the importance of forest conservation and the dangers of deforestation in Malawi, as well as explaining the bylaws, answer questions and promoting sustainable environmental practice which benefits the community, such as RIPPLE Africa’s Tree Planting Project.

The Project’s Future

We will continue to fund additional forest guards, provide transport for patrols and meet with the Conservation Committees to ascertain reports of any illegal activity in the protected areas of the Kandoli forest.

We are also introducing the project into the forested hills between Chintheche in the middle and Tukombo in the south of the Nkhata Bay District.

With these ongoing projects we are doing are best to reduce deforestation in Malawi.

  • Deforestation in Africa: The farmer who cut down these trees is now working with his Conservation Committee because he appreciates the benefit of preserving the forests
    Deforestation in Africa: The farmer who cut down these trees is now working with his Conservation Committee because he appreciates the benefit of preserving the forests

Links to Documents

Videos

Kandoli Forest Conservation Project (4:58)

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