A history of change: causes of miombo woodland decline in a protected area in Malawi

A history of change: causes of miombo woodland decline in a protected area in Malawi 1. Tropical dry woodlands are thought to be declining as a result of human activity. Aerial photograph analysis showed measurable conversion of closed canopy miombo* to sparse woodland in Lake Malawi National Park, Malawi, from 1982 to 1990. This multi‐disciplinary study investigates the possible contributions to these impacts by local use of domestic fuelwood, construction poles and fuelwood for commercial fish smoking. 2. Domestic fuelwood use was measured in 30 households over an 11‐month period. Domestic fuelwood is collected by women and is headloaded to the village. It comprises a large biomass of mainly dead wood and small branches over a wide species range. Mean total annual domestic fuelwood consumption by the total enclave population was less than half the mean annual production of fallen dead wood in the Park, estimated from three quadrats harvested monthly over an 11‐month period. 3. Construction poles are mostly small, have extended durability and come from a broad species range. Fencing poles frequently take root to form live hedges. Eucalyptus trees are commonly grown for poles. Construction pole use appears sustainable and shows signs of substitution. 4. The 305 commercial fish smoking stations in the enclaves used less fuelwood annually than domestic fuelwood users. However, the men who undertake this activity target large branches and logs from a narrow species range, involving destructive felling of canopy species. 95% of men collecting fuel for fish smoking use cutting tools and three‐quarters transport the wood by boat or bicycle. 5. The scale, size classes and species involved in commercial fish smoking suggest that this activity drives the observed degradation of closed canopy to sparse woodland. Traditional local fishing focused on small species sun‐dried for preservation. Commercial fish smoking was introduced relatively recently by immigrants, along with gill netting that harvests larger fish requiring smoking for preservation. Demand for fish by ever‐increasing urban populations underpins the continuing growth of the fish smoking industry. 6. Disaggregation of different wood use practices allows informed management policy for the Park. Currently, management targets and penalizes domestic fuelwood collectors. While seeking to reduce demand and provide alternative fuelwood sources, law enforcement and forestry extension should be reorientated to address the extraction of fuelwood for fish smoking. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Applied Ecology Wiley

A history of change: causes of miombo woodland decline in a protected area in Malawi

Loading next page...
 
/lp/wiley/a-history-of-change-causes-of-miombo-woodland-decline-in-a-protected-x1SQt0AKeb
Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0021-8901
eISSN
1365-2664
D.O.I.
10.1046/j.1365-2664.1999.00413.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1. Tropical dry woodlands are thought to be declining as a result of human activity. Aerial photograph analysis showed measurable conversion of closed canopy miombo* to sparse woodland in Lake Malawi National Park, Malawi, from 1982 to 1990. This multi‐disciplinary study investigates the possible contributions to these impacts by local use of domestic fuelwood, construction poles and fuelwood for commercial fish smoking. 2. Domestic fuelwood use was measured in 30 households over an 11‐month period. Domestic fuelwood is collected by women and is headloaded to the village. It comprises a large biomass of mainly dead wood and small branches over a wide species range. Mean total annual domestic fuelwood consumption by the total enclave population was less than half the mean annual production of fallen dead wood in the Park, estimated from three quadrats harvested monthly over an 11‐month period. 3. Construction poles are mostly small, have extended durability and come from a broad species range. Fencing poles frequently take root to form live hedges. Eucalyptus trees are commonly grown for poles. Construction pole use appears sustainable and shows signs of substitution. 4. The 305 commercial fish smoking stations in the enclaves used less fuelwood annually than domestic fuelwood users. However, the men who undertake this activity target large branches and logs from a narrow species range, involving destructive felling of canopy species. 95% of men collecting fuel for fish smoking use cutting tools and three‐quarters transport the wood by boat or bicycle. 5. The scale, size classes and species involved in commercial fish smoking suggest that this activity drives the observed degradation of closed canopy to sparse woodland. Traditional local fishing focused on small species sun‐dried for preservation. Commercial fish smoking was introduced relatively recently by immigrants, along with gill netting that harvests larger fish requiring smoking for preservation. Demand for fish by ever‐increasing urban populations underpins the continuing growth of the fish smoking industry. 6. Disaggregation of different wood use practices allows informed management policy for the Park. Currently, management targets and penalizes domestic fuelwood collectors. While seeking to reduce demand and provide alternative fuelwood sources, law enforcement and forestry extension should be reorientated to address the extraction of fuelwood for fish smoking.

Journal

Journal of Applied EcologyWiley

Published: Jun 1, 1999

References

  • Trees on farms in Malawi: private investment, public policy, and farmer choice.
    Dewees, Dewees
  • False forest history, complicit social analysis: rethinking some West African environmental narratives.
    Fairhead, Fairhead; Leach, Leach
  • From exclusion to participation: turning Senegal's forestry policy around?
    Ribot, Ribot

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off