DoF Addressing Wildfire Through Forest Management

By: Davies Munthali

The significant economic damage caused by catastrophic wildfires always prints out a devastating toll affecting the lives of the citizenry in various aspects of human development.

For Malawians who love forests, the damage is heart-wrenching. The power of forests is greater than many realize. Trees and Forests store carbon, which mitigates climate change. They provide habitat for varied species. They are a source of clean air and water. They provide economic benefits to diverse communities, and they are a renewable source for multiple products we use every day. They are also beautiful and provide many of us with places where we love to spend time with friends and family. All this is why we need to ensure they last.

However, Forest fires play a role in the evolution and function of natural ecosystems.
Acting Forestry Director Mr. Francis Chilimampunga says proper forest management increases overall forest health. 

“Sustainably managed forests reduce fire risk, advance ecosystem function, and provide a range of important benefits, including pest management and clean air and water,” Mr. Chilimampunga said.

Since its establishment, the Department of Forestry is working to promote the values and benefits of sustainably managed forests.

Mr. Chilimampunga translates sustainable forest management to enormous benefits relative to forest health, fire risk reduction, and ensuring habitat for species at risk. 

“Let me assure the nation that the Department of Forestry has highly trained and committed forest managers who are paying attention to vast areas of well-managed forests across the country so that they are climate- and fire-resilient,” Mr. Chilimampunga emphasized.

Now is the time for us as a nation to emphasize sustainable forest management as a key mitigation tool in the fight against catastrophic wildfires. The benefits will do more than just reduce fire risk. And we will all be assured that our forests will support our quality of life now and for a long time into the future.

Remember: Section 65 of the Forestry Principal Act provides that the offense of any person who lights a fire in a forest reserve or protected area, or a village forest be slapped with a verdict of a maximum prison sentence of 20 years with no option of a fine.