|Date||12 Aug 2008|
The IUCN (2007) classified endemic Mulanje cedar (Widdringtonia whytei), Malawi’s only Official National Tree as critically endangered. Research has revealed that stands of Mulanje cedar in Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve (MMFR) have drastically declined by 47% since 1989 due to illegal logging, charcoal production and uncontrolled bush fires.
This flagship species is now at the verge of extinction. The overall aim of this project is thus, to address this crisis by promoting communal massive cultivation of the Mulanje cedar on communal lands around MMFR, conservation and protection of the remaining stands in the MMFR using surrounding local communities and stakeholders. Involving local communities and stakeholders in cultivation of Mulanje cedar will help them to gain new knowledge and skills on nature conservation as they will learn how to establish Mulanje cedar nursery beds, seed collection, treatment, storage, propagation, seedling watering regime, seedling management, pitting, planting, and forest management.
These activities will help them to gain new knowledge, skills on and understanding of nature conservation. Further, communities and stakeholders will also be trained on forest-based enterprises such as sale of seedlings of Mulanje cedar to be cultivated, timber, fuelwood, and further bee-keeping. These activities will therefore, make a substantial and long lasting contribution to nature conservation in the country even if the project winds up.
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