Perceptions of Land-degradation, Forest Restoration and Fire Management: A Case Study from Malawi

Davies, G.M., L. Pollard and M.D. Mwenda

Publication Date:

We interviewed local households to understand local awareness and impacts of land- degradation, its perceived cause and preferred methods for restoration. All households were aware of the presence of gullies and reported associated problems of flood damage. Most households believed erosion was a result of deforestation. Burning practices were seen to have exacerbated erosion problems. Changing fire management practice was not seen as realistic as it risked reducing the productivity of grasses and fires were perceived to be too difficult to control. Tree planting was the community’s preferred approach to tackling erosion. Their focus was on planting exotic fruit and timber trees around houses and they often requested that such work be done by volunteers. Such attitudes may have been influenced by recent extension work and a desire to secure ownership of utilisable resource. Ecologists in the miombo zone should focus on improving fire management practices and involving communities in creating diverse secondary woodlands that provide a range of goods and services.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Land Degradation and Development