Lameck Mkandawire and Climate Resilience through Forest Regeneration
Lameck Mkandawire, aged 22, lives in Honga with his two brothers on their small-scale farm, where they sell tree seedlings and fruit. Lameck had been struggling with his farmland; the trees surrounding the household had been felled for charcoal making soil erosion very common. The wetlands where they used to get water for irrigating crops started drying up making it hard to cultivate enough during the winter. On this eroded land, the brothers’ harvest was often insufficient to last the whole year so they resorted to burning charcoal to make ends meet.
This is a common story in Malawi, which sees enormous pressure on wetlands and forest resources. With only 3% of forests remaining, such high rates of deforestation can be attributed, in large part, to unsustainable land management and agricultural practices.
In 2021, Lameck attended a community meeting facilitated by Temwa where he learned that the soil changes were a result of deforestation. Following the meeting, the village identified three acres of natural forest to protect and regenerate. They have also started planting trees, ensuring these are the most sustainable species: “We have shifted our focus from wood-based trees to fruit and agroforestry trees.” The community are now harvesting the fruits and selling them to provide income to cover basic needs.
“Our soil has also started to improve with the agroforestry trees that we planted. We are now harvesting more than we used to.” The trees have reduced the drying of the wetlands where they do winter cropping.
With Temwa’s support, Lameck has been able to reclaim about 9 hectares of land around his house, planting about 3,400 pine and 2,600 fruit trees. He has also been able to sell tree seedlings to other community members; in recent months, he has sold around 1,000 seedlings. He says that “I want to be able to train others on grafting and propagating just like I learnt from Temwa.” He also plans to start using beehives to help protect his forest and sell the honey produced for extra income.
This is a partnership: the work we do to capture carbon also benefits people. We support people like Lameck and communities to produce green, fertile landscapes, improving soil quality for farming and building greater resilience to climate shocks.
These same communities experience some of the worst impacts of climate change - flooding, food and water shortages and landslides. Temwa Carbon Balance focuses on working with Nkhata Bay North to empower communities in the face of these impacts, planting more trees, protecting forests and adopting sustainable agriculture.