OVERVIEW: Forestry

Environmental Management Framework

Development and the Environment

Soil and Land



Water Resources

Biological Diversity

Human Habitat

Climate Change


Forest resources are vital to Malawi as a source of energy to a large percentage of the population. They also help in maintaining biodiversity in both terrestrial and aquatic environments, and stabilise catchments which in turn minimises siltation of lakes and rivers.

The previously vast forest resources have been considerably reduced from 4.4 million hectares to around 1.9 million in the last 25 years. The increasing demand for land for crop production and growing demand for wood-fuel makes sustainable management of the forest resources an almost impossible task. In addition the increasing incidences of wildfires in forest plantations and reserves has resulted in losses running into millions of dollars.

The government, through the Forestry Department, has recently reviewed forest policy and legislation to enhance the participation of rural communities in the conservation of both planted and natural forests, within their own areas as well as in government owned forests.


In order to address forest problems, it is recommended to enhance the implementation of measures designed to

  • Iessen the demand for (forested) land for crop production by introducing improved methods of agriculture;

  • emphasise alternative income sources for the people that engage in selling wood and promote community-based forestry activities;

  • reduce demand for wood-fuel by improving the energy efficiency of traditional cooking, and by introducing economically alternative sources of energy to wood-fuel;

  • protect existing forest resources against careless exploitation and increase wood production through afforestation and reforestation;

  • strengthen forest research, monitoring and assessment of forest resource status, as well as promote public awareness on forestry matters,

  • ensure more funds for forestry activities in order to effectively manage forest fires.

 Contents | Foreword  | Acknowlegdements | Editorial Process
Contributors | Preface | Acronyms  | Overview
Chapters: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Appendix I
Lists: Maps | Figures | Tables | Boxes | References