Planting of trees at Lake Malawi

Background

The area around Lake Malawi is heavily deforested. This leads to a number of environmental and social problems

-Erosion

– Less nutritious soil

– Less undergrowth and plants

– Reduced carbon sink

– Less fruit and medicinal plants

– Less shade

– Much longer and more difficult journey for women and children to collect trees for firewood elsewhere.

– Increased pressure on forests hitherto left relatively untouched.

Project run by Wilderness Safaris and Southbound Travel group:

* The project is run by Master Banda. Master is a local “chief” and educated in forestry. He also has two assistants, trained by Master, helping out with planting and distributing the trees.

* 14 different type of trees, all carefully selected by  Master, are planted at two nurseries. One is located on the property of Chinteche Inn and the other one at Bandawe Misson.

* Total number of trees from the two nurseries is about 40 000 in 2013.

* When the trees reach a certain size they are distributed to local villagers. To qualify for receiving trees the villagers have to form a tree club in accordance with Masters requirements.

* At present there are approximately 80 trees clubs in the nearby villages and the number is rising all the time.

* The tree clubs have to clear land under instructions from the Master to qualify for receiving trees. They must also take care of the trees to get new trees in the future.

* The project is now being expanded with the  introduction of solar cookers. The solar cookers  will be placed at Chinteche Inn and Bandawe Mission. The reverend at Bandawe Mission will educate his congregation about the benefits of them, and the staff at Chinteche Inn will be test pilots for these cookers and see how well they will be accepted by the locals.

* The benefits of using solar cookers are many:  No emissions, free energy, no work to get fuel, no need to cut down trees for firewood, less smoke and dangerous environment for households, no need for burning bricks to build their own traditional stoves etc etc

How is the project funded?

* Costs for setting up the project, building nurseries, planting of trees up until 2012 and purchase of solar cookers  are borne by Wilderness Safaris and Southbound Travel Group

* Costs from 2013 and onwards are being funded by Southbound Travel Groups customers, to cover for the carbon footprint of their trips.

How is the carbon footprint compensation calculated?

* Each tree binds an average of 20 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year.

* Approximately 70% of the trees planted survive to “adulthood”. Of the 40 000 trees planted  in 2013 about 28 000 will survive. This provides a yearly  compensation of 560 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

* An extensive reforestation in the area around Lake Malawi is good against erosion, increasing soil quality, enables undergrowth, and thus further increased compensation of the carbon footprint. This is hard to measure and is therefore not taken into the calculation as of yet.

* The effect of solar cookers is under evaluation as it depends on the extent to which they will be used. We therefore do not take them into the calculation as of yet.

Positive effects for the local population

* Access to fruits, medicinal herbs, etc. from the trees.

* Increased shade and coolness for people and their animals.

* The trees are an asset that increases the value of their land.

* Solar cookers produce fewer emissions and leads to less work when they do not have to walk long distances to fetch firewood (which is almost always the woman’s job).

* It will be cheaper to cook food with solar cookers. Today many buy wood or coal as fuel.

*Solar cookers introduces new technique, which hopefully creates an  interest for new ideas on how to use solar energy.

* Solar cookers provides a better living environment, today the wood stoves used produces a lot of unhealthy smoke.