Ecosystem Approach Sourcebook - Case-Study Details

 
1. Project Details
Author or Responsible Organization R D Smith and E Maltby. (2003) 'Using the Ecosystem Approach to Implement the Convention on Biological Diversity: Key issues and case studies. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK x + 118pp.
Project Title Sustainable Management of Indigenous Forests in Mwanza East, Malawi
Date of Publication
Project Status Completed
Project Start Date
Project End Date
Countries Malawi
Regions Africa
Funding Source
 
2. Background to Project
Project Issue/Problem Statement The project addressed the problem of deforestation of Miombo woodland in a catchment of the Shire, one of Malawi ’s major rivers. The area has experienced a rapid conversion of forest to agricultural land following the construction of a main road. The remaining forest faces greater pressure from humans, livestock and wildlife.
Project Description Five approaches were used to reduce deforestation:(1) Involving local communities in awareness campaigns and training in improved forest management. These campaigns have benefited from local knowledge of forest management and establishment techniques.(2)Integration of women and other marginalised groups in forest resource management. Women suffer most as a result of declining availability of firewood and the drying up of streams due to siltation.(3) Empowerment of communities through the formation of various clubs and committees. Committees were needed to administer the management of forest resources because awareness and training were found to be insufficient to address the problem of deforestation.(4)Control of illegal timber, charcoal and fuel wood use by bylaws. Since the licensing system designed to control the harvesting of trees has been ineffective, the project developed bylaws that limited the use of forest resources by communities. (5)Harvesting and marketing of non-timber forest products (NTFPs).The project encouraged the diversification of forest product use by supporting the formation of groups to carry out management, utilisation and marketing. As a result of these efforts, communities are managing greater areas of forest, illegal harvesting of wood is being reduced, income- generating activities have increased and diversified, and communities are actively involved in forest management.
Highlighted Aspects of Ecosystem Approach • The project has had some success in simultaneously implementing each of the objectives of the CBD. For example, conservation and sustainable use were balanced and the distribution of forest benefits made more equitable by adding value to sustainably harvested forest products (e.g. fruit juices)and successfully marketing them in urban areas. • Societal choice – the setting of priorities by local communities was vital for the success of the project; this identified the need and potential for income generation. • Goods, both timber and non-timber, were identified. Sustainably harvested non-traditional forest products replaced timber and charcoal as the preferred products. • The success of the project in changing peoples ’ attitudes towards natural resources results from the local involvement of diverse stakeholders including churches, research institutions, NGOs, businesses and government departments. • The project did not:(1)use or enhance knowledge of ecosystem functional relationships and processes (although their importance were acknowledged);or (2) use or test adaptive management.
Conclusions •The activities and structures developed by a project can only be judged as successful if they survive in the longer term. Continuity of project-inspired activities will require further empowerment and strengthening of institutions at the village level. • Obstacles to the success of the project included:1) insecurity of tenure over customary resources;(2) over-harvesting of NTFPs;(3)insufficient community empowerment to prevent illegal forest use. • The project needs to be expanded more widely in the catchment if the improvements to forest condition are to have a positive impact on the river. • A focus on the value of individual species (and neglect of their ecological function)has led to over-harvesting of some species and unknown ecological effects.
 
3. Sectors and Biomes
Sectors Forestry
Biomes Forest Biodiversity
 
4. Tools and Approaches
Tools and Approaches   Relevance
Score
  Further
Information
Public Participation 3-High
- Community based methods 3-High
- Local community approaches 3-High
- Social analysis 3-High
Education and Awareness 3-High
- Communication 3-High
Governance, Law and Policy 3-High
- Litigation and enforcement 3-High
Management and Incentives 3-High
- Conservation enterprises/Diversification 3-High
- Incentives 3-High
 
5. Issues
Issues   Relevance
Score
Sustainable Use of Biodiversity 3-High
Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices - Article 8(j) 3-High
 
6. Ecosystem Approach
Principles and Operational Guidance   Relevance
Score
  Reason
(Only if NOT relevant)
Principle 1: The objectives of management of land, water and living resources are a matter of societal choices 3-High
Principle 2: Management should be decentralized to the lowest appropriate level 3-High
Principle 4: Recognizing potential gains from management, there is usually a need to understand and manage the ecosystem in an economic context 3-High
Principle 5: Conservation of ecosystem structure and functioning, in order to maintain ecosystem services, should be a priority target of the ecosystem approach 1-Low
Principle 6: Ecosystem must be managed within the limits of their functioning 1-Low
Principle 9: Management must recognize the change is inevitable 3-High
Principle 10: The ecosystem approach should seek the appropriate balance between, and integration of, conservation and use of biological diversity 3-High
Principle 11: The ecosystem approach should consider all forms of relevant information, including scientific and indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices 3-High
Principle 12: The ecosystem approach should involve all relevant sectors of society and scientific disciplines 3-High
Operational Guidance B: Enhance benefit-sharing 3-High
Operational Guidance C: Use adaptive management practices 3-High
Operational Guidance D: Carry out management actions at the scale appropriate for the issue being addressed, with decentralization to lowest level, as appropriate 3-High
Operational Guidance E: Ensure intersectoral cooperation 3-High
 
7. Lessons Learned and the Outcomes
Lessons Learned •The activities and structures developed by a project can only be judged as successful if they survive in the longer term. Continuity of project-inspired activities will require further empowerment and strengthening of institutions at the village level. • Obstacles to the success of the project included:1) insecurity of tenure over customary resources;(2) over-harvesting of NTFPs;(3)insufficient community empowerment to prevent illegal forest use. • The project needs to be expanded more widely in the catchment if the improvements to forest condition are to have a positive impact on the river. • A focus on the value of individual species (and neglect of their ecological function)has led to over-harvesting of some species and unknown ecological effects.
Outcomes
Other Information
 
8. References
References Smith, R.D. & Maltby, E. (2003) Using the Ecosystem Approach to Implement the Convention on Biodiversity: Key issues and case studies. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, Uk x + 118pp.
 
9. Contact Details
Contact Person Ms. Diana Mortimer
Job Title Ecosystem Approach Officer
Organization Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Address Monkstone House, City Road,
Postal Code PE13 4LA
City Peterborough
ZIP/State/Province Cambs
Telephone +44 1733 866857
Fax +44 1733 555948
E-mail Address diana.mortimer@jncc.gov.uk
 
 

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