Thyolo develops 2022-2026 Mountain Forest Reserve Management Plan

Thyolo District Council has developed Thyolo Mountain Forest Reserve Management Plan to run from 2022 to 2026 in a bid to restore the lost glory of the mountain.

The five-year plan, according to Acting District Forestry Officer, Francis Yohane, aims at reclaiming 392 hectares of land from encroachers by 2026.

Yohane said meanwhile, 99 per cent of the forest reserve is encroached through cultivation, a development he said has compromised the objective of the mountain which was gazzeted in 1924 as a source of water.

“The forest reserve has 1321 hectares but in the meantime, almost the whole reserve has been encroached due to demand for land for cultivation.

“This management plan will promote management, and sustainable utilisation and conservation of the forest reserve.

The Thyolo Mountain forest reserve

“We are going to protect the catchment area through collaborative approach by all relevant stakeholders, including encroachers since the process of developing it incorporated views from all,” said Yohane.

He said among other advantages, the management plan will increase household income for the communities through different activities with support from Shire Valley Transformation Project.

Once some land is reclaimed, according to Yohane, it will also provide alternative source of livelihood, including recruitment and deployment of human resources like guards among other activities.

In interview, Thyolo District Council Director of Planning and Development, Morson Magombo has since called on stakeholders to help the district achieve the aim of the management plan.

He said before the management plan is rolled out, it will be taken to all stakeholders and at a later stage it is supposed to be approved by the district’s full council meeting.

“We are also planning to launch it once all processes are completed in order to popularise it to all concerned parties.