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Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3326-3345; doi:10.3390/su4123326

Institutions and Ecosystem-Based Development Potentials of the Elephant Marsh, Malawi

1
The Polytechnic, Department of Physics and Biochemical Sciences, University of Malawi, Private Bag 303, Blantyre 3, Malawi
2
Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, P.O. Box 9518, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands
3
Institute for Science and Innovation Studies, Faculty of Science, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
4
Department of Economics, Chancellor College, University of Malawi, P.O. Box 280, Zomba, Malawi
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 October 2012 / Revised: 20 November 2012 / Accepted: 21 November 2012 / Published: 7 December 2012
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Abstract

The Elephant Marsh, a wetland in Southern Malawi, is important for fishing, agriculture, hunting and the collection of natural resources for the livelihoods of local communities. However, there has been increasing pressure driven by a changing climate, population growth, rural poverty and agricultural conversion, all of which threaten the future of the wetland. Currently, Malawi does not have either a national wetland policy or a climate change policy and wetland issues are only marginally present in the National Parks and Wildlife Policy of 2000 and National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy of 2001. As a result, the country lacks a framework that could be strong enough to achieve balanced and sustainable wetland management for multiple resource users. The objective of this study was to establish the development potentials of Elephant Marsh from an ecosystem-based (‘working-with-nature’) perspective. It was revealed that there are development potentials in fisheries, recession agriculture, biomass for energy, conservation and tourism. This paper emphasizes that as these opportunities are developed, there will be the need to strengthen management institutions at local and national levels, and the coordination between the two.
Keywords: Elephant Marsh; wetland; Malawi; local institutions; ecosystem-based management; livelihoods; co-management Elephant Marsh; wetland; Malawi; local institutions; ecosystem-based management; livelihoods; co-management
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kosamu, I.B.M.; de Groot, W.T.; Kambewa, P.S.; de Snoo, G.R. Institutions and Ecosystem-Based Development Potentials of the Elephant Marsh, Malawi. Sustainability 2012, 4, 3326-3345.

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