More users and more uses: Choosing between land and forest in Malawi's protected areas
AuthorOrr, Barron Joseph
AdvisorHutchinson, Charles F.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractLocal inhabitants risk the loss of ecological resources when land is cleared for cultivation as population densities and the demand for land resources increase. This dilemma is investigated through an interdisciplinary socioeconomic and ethnoecological assessment of 427 households in communities adjacent to four protected areas in Malawi. This study introduces a multidimensional approach that captures baseline socioeconomic information and resource utilization in a quantitative, integrated manner. Household income was derived from a "sum of the parts" aggregation of income elements including species-level agricultural production and resource utilization data. Regression analysis (R² = 0.84) demonstrated that poorer households are more reliant on protected area-based income than are wealthy households. Lorenz curve analysis demonstrated that income distribution equality improves when proceeds from protected areas are included in household income. Poverty threshold analysis indicates that exploitation of protected area resources is a livelihood strategy that halved the number of households that otherwise would have remained beneath a basic needs poverty threshold. Ecological resources are shown to meet demand for more people and for a longer time frame than converting the same lands to agriculture. However, conversion is more likely because per hectare values are 2 to 3.5 times greater for agriculture than for consumptive ecological resource use. Spatial analysis suggests points of negative land cover change (1984-94) were not associated with the proximity of population but with the agricultural suitability of the land. The results suggest the kinds of decisions people will make under extreme stress, when consideration of potential impacts is overwhelmed by the need to survive. This study demonstrates that protected area resources play a pivotal role in poverty alleviation, and by extension, efforts to make sustainable use and sustainable development compatible.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Arid Lands Resources Sciences