Box 7.1:     Effect of community-based management


     Box 7.1: Some of the important vegetation types of Malawi
Fanned of trees at least 8 m tall with their crowns interlocking. Several types, occur in Malawi.

Lowland Forests (occur at less 1370m)

  • Lowland seasonal rain forests: Occur at less 1370 m and are dry in 1-5 months of the year but alleviated by high atmospheric humidity or frequent mists. The undergrowth is sparse. 
  • Lowland dry semi-deciduous forest. 
  • Lowland deciduous forests: chiefly in the Lower Shire Valley and Phalombe Plain.
Fringing Forest: Widespread along the banks of rivers, streams and lakes.

Montane Forests (occur above 1370 m).

  • Sub-montane seasonal rain forest. 
  • Montane forests (most above 1980 m but sometimes as low as 1675 m).
Intermediate between forest and thicket. Occur in exposed picks and crests on the higher mountains and on small hills.
Typical Woodland.
Open stands of trees at least 5 m tall with crown covering at least 20% of surface in lateral contact. Grass cover

usually present. Two ecologically distinct units of woodlands occur in Malawi. These are miombo (Brachytstegw) and Mopane woodlands.

Scrub Woodland
Intermediate between woodland and scrub land. The majority of the plants are stunted trees. Commonly found at the edges of dambos.

Transition Woodland
Physiognomically intermediate between woodland and forests, and floristically a mixture of forest and woodland species.
.Mainly composed of shrubs not touching each other. Often with a grass stratum. Montane shrub lands occur on the exposed slopes of Mulanje Mountain.
Grasses, graminoid and other herbaceous plants are predominant in the cover with trees and shrubs almost or totally absent. Two types of grasslands occur m Malawi, namely:

  • Edaphic grasslands: associated with drainage lines. 
  • Secondary grasslands: occur where forest or woodland has been destroyed, usually by fire and subsequently colonized by grasses.
Grassland with scattered trees or shrubs covering not more than 20%. Most of the wooded grassland is secondary resulting from the destruction of woodland.
Farmland with scattered trees which have usually been left for shade or to provide fruit. Wooded farmlands are very wide spread in Malawi..
  Source: Scholz (1996)


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