Rainforest in Malawi
|Importance for biodiversity||High|
|Climate protection factor
(in t CO2)
Malawi is losing its forest
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and at the same time has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world (3%). The small country is acutely threatened by desertification and the complete loss of its native nature. As soon as the forest disappears, people are increasingly affected by drought and flooding. . With the forest the unique biodiversity of Malawi disappears - forever.
In the Nantipwili river valley south of the town of Blantyre there are still small remnants of forest. Even the extremely rare bast palm (Raphia farnifera) can be found here. Numerous rare and mostly endangered animal and plant species have also found a last refuge here.
Every year the small remnants of the forest in the Nantipwili River Valley decrease as people need wood and cut down the last trees. In agriculture, corn is mainly grown in monoculture. The corn fields often border directly on the forest, which is pushed back a little further every year, but when the deep-rooted trees are missing, the rain washes away some of the topsoil and the meagre yields become even lower. In their misery people then use a lot of chemical fertilizers. It's a vicious circle. The entire natural system is in imbalance, the plants are getting sick more often, so that pesticides are being used more and more often.
Rescue of the endangered bast palm and rare species
Naturefund has therefore launched a pilot project in the Nantipwili river valley in 2017. Together with our local partner Ecolodgy we supported 20 families around the Nantipwili river valley in using the dynamic agroforestry cultivation method. Using this method, they plant a large number of trees while at the same time growing their food on the same area - without fertilisers, without pesticides and with high yields.
In September 2017 the first training took place. Noemi Stadler-Kaulich, one of the experts in this cultivation method, travelled from Bolivia to the Nantipwili river valley for a week and showed the people how they can use the principles of dynamic agroforestry to create a healthy plant system and strengthen soil fertility. After only a few months it became apparent how well this Approach works in Malawi: The plants grew vigorously and were healthy, the families had a good yield, while at the same time the planted trees and bushes "held" the soil crumb.
Second project phase starts in 2018 in five villages
Due to this success, curiosity increased in the surrounding villages and more and more people were interested in learning the method as well. Therefore we started the second phase in September 2018 and trained five more villages in Dynamic Agroforestry.
The project is supported by the Hand in Hand Fund of Rapunzel and the German Environmental Aid. But we can use every help. Plant trees with us now in Malawi and help us to save the last bast palms.