Breaking NewsMiningTech

FQM and Stakeholders Collaborate to Safeguard Mavunda Forest

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) and various partners have taken proactive measures to safeguard the Mavunda Forest in Zambia’s North Western Province. This initiative aims to preserve the rare Cryptosepalum Forest, known locally as Mavunda, which stands as a testament to Zambia’s rich natural heritage.

One significant stride in this endeavor is the sponsorship of a Zambian national, John Muzenzi, to undergo specialized training as a Fire Marshall in the United States. Muzenzi’s role will be pivotal in managing forest and bush fires within the Mavunda Forest, ensuring the preservation of this distinctive ecosystem.

Mavunda Forest holds global significance as a Dry Ever Green Forest, a designation that underscores its ecological uniqueness. Historically, the forest served as a sanctuary for Adamson Bratson Musanda Mushala, a Zambian insurgent who led a resistance movement against the One-Party Government of President Kenneth Kaunda from 1975 to 1982.

Speaking on the importance of preserving Mavunda Forest, John Muzenzi, Senior Operations Manager at West Lunga Conservation Project, emphasized the role of traditional leaders in safeguarding this natural treasure for future generations. Muzenzi underscored the collaborative efforts between the project, governmental bodies, traditional leaders, and local communities to protect the forest, rivers, and wildlife.

Despite its uniqueness, Mavunda Forest faces threats from uncontrolled bush fires, prompting President Hakainde Hichilema to advocate strongly against such practices. Muzenzi highlighted the alarming depletion of wildlife in the adjacent West Lunga National Park due to these fires. However, concerted efforts have led to a resurgence in wildlife populations, with the elephant count rising from four to over a hundred.

To mitigate the risk of bush fires and promote sustainable livelihoods, various interventions have been implemented. Thirty-one Community Forest Management Groups (CFMGs) have been established, alongside the formation of six Community Resource Boards.

Additionally, initiatives such as beekeeping and the establishment of community-owned game reserves have provided alternative livelihoods while promoting conservation efforts.

Freeman Mubanga, Head of Research and Studies at the Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ), emphasized the importance of adopting technological solutions like Remote Sensing and Real-time Monitoring Systems to monitor forest health effectively.

The collective resolve to protect Mavunda Forest was palpable during the Traditional Leaders Caucus on Ending Forest Fires, where chiefs from across the region convened to pledge their commitment to conservation efforts.

In attendance were distinguished leaders including Dr. Chief Mumena of Kalumbila District, Senior Chief Sailunga, Chief Kakoma, Chief Ntambu, Chief Lumpuma, Chief Musaka, Chief Mulonga, Senior Chief Kalilele, Chieftainess Chikola, and Chief Kapijimpanga, all of whom expressed unwavering support for initiatives aimed at preserving Zambia’s natural heritage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *