Republic of Malawi
By: Gift Chimulu
The Shire Valley Transformation Programme (SVTP) has ear-marked Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve and Matandwe Forest Reserve to undergo a joint sustainable management regime as a strategy of conserving the two protected areas.
Speaking during a joint planning meeting in June involving senior officials and lead technocrats from the forestry and parks and wildlife departments in Thyolo, the Programmes Project Coordinator; Sandram Maweru said the proposed areas are a biodiversity bank for the lower shire hence requiring a sustainable management .
According to Maweru conservation of such areas is vital as it offers a wide range of services whose sustenance is of great essence.
“These two protected areas are a biodiversity bank that we need to conserve and see its services flowing for generations to come”.
“The wildlife corridor in question is also a great source of income to both communities and the government through revenue collection. Eco-tourism, Small scale businesses have necessitated communities surrounding the reserves to sustain their livelihoods for ages and we want this to be story even 50 years from now”. He said
He further disclosed that through the proposed management regime, Parks and Forestry departments will need to harmonize their management strategies to suit the reserves’ composition as guided by their policies and resource use regulation documents.
Commenting on the development the Programmes’s Natural Resources Management coordinator; Daulosi Mauambeta said instituting a well-structured management regime for the two reserves is a milestone in promoting biodiversity as well as building the community’s resilience to climate shocks.
According to Mauambeta conserving the two reserves whose catchments stretches across the flood prone district of Nsanje in the lower shire, have the potential of transforming the areas into a predominately resource base.
In his remarks Deputy Director responsible for forest communication and advisory services at the Department of Forestry, Mr Titus Zulu commended the programme for considering Matandwe Forest Reserve to undergo a joint sustainable conservation management regime.
Backing on current deforestation trends in the reserve, Zulu said it is a rescue to have it undergo such management processes which values community involvement as a core tool in achieving sustainable forest management and utilisation.
According to the seasoned chief forestry officer, through the proposed management process communities surrounding the two protected areas will have their livelihoods improved for the better.
“We are going to empower the communities to fully utilize their resource zones through promotion of specific interventions such as Bee Keeping among many more environmental friendly enterprises” He added.
With financial support from the World Bank, the Shire Valley Transformation Programme is one of the main development approaches whose main objective is to improve the management and utilization of natural resources in a sustainable way to increase productivity and commercialization for households in the targeted area in the Shire Valley.