World Agroforestry Center Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Programme

Lilongwe, Malawi

World Agroforestry Center Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Programme

Lilongwe, Malawi
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Meijer S.S.,University College Dublin | Meijer S.S.,World Agroforestry Center Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Programme | Sileshi G.W.,World Agroforestry Center Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Programme | Catacutan D.,World Agroforestry Center Vietnam | Nieuwenhuis M.,University College Dublin
Forests Trees and Livelihoods | Year: 2015

Malawi’s unique flora and fauna are threatened by high levels of deforestation and forest degradation. In addition to the many ecosystem services provided by the country’s forests, most of the rural population of this poor country are highly dependent on forests for provision of food, firewood, medicine, building materials and income. This study examined farmers’ attitudes and behaviour in relation to cutting down forest trees in two rural districts in Malawi using the theory of planned behaviour as a conceptual framework. A survey was administered to 200 household heads in Mzimba and Chiradzulu districts. With strongly negative attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control, farmers were aware of the negative consequences associated with cutting down forest trees, the lack of social support and obstacles encountered when cutting down forest trees. The intention to cut down forest trees was generally low. However, farmers were highly dependent on forest resources, especially in the north, which is caused by high levels of poverty and a lack of alternative income opportunities. We conclude that poverty alleviation and livelihood diversification are crucial for addressing the overexploitation of forest trees in Malawi. © 2015 Taylor & Francis


Meijer S.S.,University College Dublin | Meijer S.S.,World Agroforestry Center Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Programme | Sileshi G.W.,5600 Lukanga Road | Catacutan D.,World Agroforestry Center Vietnam | Nieuwenhuis M.,University College Dublin
Agroforestry Systems | Year: 2015

Farm-level tree planting has been suggested to have potential to decrease pressures on natural forests and, consequently, contribute towards reducing deforestation and forest degradation. However, the scientific evidence for such a link is limited. We examined farmers’ beliefs, attitudes and behaviours in relation to tree planting on farms and cutting down trees from the forest, as one way of establishing this link. A household survey was administered to 200 farmers in two rural districts in Malawi, which included an attitude scale based on the theory of planned behaviour. The results showed that farmers in Malawi recognise the benefits of planting trees, feel encouraged by fellow farmers, and feel capable of planting trees on their land. In addition, they believe cutting down trees from the forest will result in mainly negative outcomes, and feel discouraged by others and hindered by control factors to cut down trees from the forest. In total, 76 % of respondents planted trees in the past 5 years, 50 % collected firewood from the forest and 21 % collected poles. There was no evidence for a direct relationship between attitudes towards planting trees and cutting down trees, nor were the behaviours in relation to tree planting and cutting down trees from the forest significantly associated. However, there was evidence for an indirect relationship between tree planting behaviour and cutting down trees from the forest, as respondents who had planted trees had more negative attitudes towards cutting down trees from the forest. Future research should further explore the direct relationship between agroforestry and deforestation to establish if and under what conditions such a relationship might exist. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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