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Saving forests and building businesses

Saving forests and building businesses

Temwa Carbon Balance helps farming communities to diversify their incomes while tackling climate change

At Honga Tree Nursery, a Temwa Carbon Balance tree planting site, nestled in 1.5 acres there are 5000 new trees planted. As well as this extraordinary tree-planting achievement, 34 beehives call the woodlot home. Since the site was established in 2019, the local community has been developing their knowledge around sustainable forestry and passing this on to the next generation. 

This tree nursery is not only the result of our supporters’ dedication to balancing carbon emissions and reducing their impact on the environment, but an income-generating project that enables local farmers to work in unison with each other through forest-friendly activities. 

“We have learned a lot - there is a strong relationship between the bees and the forest. We sell the honey for a profit and the tree seeds can be shared with the community. We want to continue planting more trees, and we want to help our friends and neighbours to learn and become involved”, says Gift Mtambo, a beekeeper at Biriwiri and a member of the Biriwiri woodlot forestry group. 

This approach to forestry combines a desire to protect the forest with the necessities of tackling climate change while putting food on the table. 

The activities at the tree nursery contribute to key important areas of forestry management, in a district that has seen rampant deforestation, and all the negative effects accompanying it. These activities include forest regeneration, tree planting and afforestation (the process of planting trees where there were none before), which the forestry group plans to promote to local community members. 

Gift also said that members of Biriwiri woodlot forestry group want to go further and improve vegetative cover of the forest, as well as harvest fruits to sell and even upscale the beehives at the site. In addition to the 800 acacia and 1000 gliricidia trees already planted at Biriwiri, the group has also planted mangos, avocados and oranges. 

“We are excited about the fruit trees as these will give fruit for a long time and we will be able to sell the fruits in town”, adds Mr. Mtambo. 

Temwa Programmes Manager, Ifeoma Fox said, “by diversifying the flora at the site, Biriwiri forestry group is building a long-term management strategy for the woodlot that includes sustainable livelihoods and forest stewardship. This gives local people, who are trying to escape poverty, a tangible incentive to look after the land and avoid the need to chop trees down for firewood or to sell”. 

Climate change has already affected the reliability of seasonal rains (among many other things) in Nkhata Bay North, as well as the rest of Malawi and other countries just like it. The work of Gift Mtambo and his community is aiming to improve this. 

“Since Temwa arrived the team has helped us. We feel empowered and encouraged, and we have learned a lot,” says Gift. 

Through growing forest cover, combating soil erosion and degradation, and sharing resources, the members of Biriwiri and Honga are safeguarding the future for themselves and their children.

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