|Destruction by miners in Tchemba Forest|
Tchemba Forest, which is about 26 hectares, is found about 12 kilometers west of Mzimba Town at Tchemba Hill at Kamilaza in the area of Group Village Headman (GVH) Yesaya Shumba. it was annexed for conservation over half a century ago. It consists of largely deciduous indigenous trees of various species.
YAACC's involvement in conservation efforts of the Forest started in 2013 when GVH Yesaya Shumba approached YAACC for help in the protection of the forest against destruction due to illicit mining activities that were being perpetuated by various small-scale mining groups. The miners were digging the forest for precious rocks little regard to conservation.
YAACC begun the intervention by helping to suspend all mining activities until proper procedures are laid down. This was met with stiff resistance from the miners but having educated the community on sustainable mining activities, all miners were forcefully evicted.
During the 2016 commemoration of the World Environmental Day organised by YAACC at Kamilaza, the District Forest Officer for Mzimba, who was Guest of Honor, reiterated the need to urgently come up with a Forest Management Plan and By-Laws to facilitate effective conservation of the Forest. YAACC begun facilitating this process in September 2016 and finished it on October 17, 2016.
In the consultation sessions, which were four in total, we had chiefs, Village development representatives, women and youths participating actively. All contents of the FMP and By-Laws are entirely what the community members agreed upon. Some issues were very contentious but consensus was always reached despite lengthy deliberations.
YAACC looks forward to the finalizing of the first draft copies of the two documents. With these two documents in place
, conservation of Tchemba Forest will no longer be a problem.