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Deforestation since Independence: A quantitative assessment of four decades of land cover change in Malawi

Deforestation since Independence: A quantitative assessment of four decades of land cover change in Malawi
Deforestation since Independence: A quantitative assessment of four decades of land cover change in Malawi
Land cover has changed rapidly across the tropics over the past century; however detailed 18 historical information describing the extent and possible drivers of such change is widely 19 lacking. Here, we constructed a history of land cover change at the district level in Malawi 20 over a 37 year period from 1972 to 2009, the immediate post-colonial phase. Overall, there 21 was a loss of 12,760km2 (36%) of original forested area but also 11,161km2 of new forest 22 establishment resulting in a relatively modest overall net loss of 1,599km2 (5%). We 23 correlated changes in deforestation and forest establishment with changes in socioeconomic 24 variables derived from spatially explicit data from the same time period. Deforestation was 25 positively correlated with (in order of influence) changes in male school attendance, sex ratio, 26 population density, hospital bed numbers, protected areas, and dependency rate, but 27 negatively correlated with changes in cattle density; with forest establishment broadly 28 showing the inverse relationships with the same variables. Although direct drivers of 29 deforestation are well known for Malawi and much of Africa, the significance of 30 socioeconomic variables within this study can help understand the underlying social 31 pressures behind such drivers. In particular, development, population pressure, and 32 demographic factors are important predictors of deforestation rate within our study area.
afforestation, deforestation, drivers, land use change, reforestation, rural, urban
1-7
Bone, Rachel A.
8234373e-e23b-43d0-8001-fa73d5f1eda6
Parks, Katherine
ea8fc33d-e41f-4df1-9c16-01c1711de5a6
Hudson, Malcolm
1ae18506-6f2a-48af-8c72-83ab28679f55
Tsirinzeni, Mathews
9129f99b-8182-4198-bf57-a80a3e894094
Willcock, Simon
89d9767e-8076-4b21-be9d-a964f5cc85d7
Bone, Rachel A.
8234373e-e23b-43d0-8001-fa73d5f1eda6
Parks, Katherine
ea8fc33d-e41f-4df1-9c16-01c1711de5a6
Hudson, Malcolm
1ae18506-6f2a-48af-8c72-83ab28679f55
Tsirinzeni, Mathews
9129f99b-8182-4198-bf57-a80a3e894094
Willcock, Simon
89d9767e-8076-4b21-be9d-a964f5cc85d7

Bone, Rachel A., Parks, Katherine, Hudson, Malcolm, Tsirinzeni, Mathews and Willcock, Simon (2016) Deforestation since Independence: A quantitative assessment of four decades of land cover change in Malawi. Southern Forests: A Journal of Forest Science, 1-7. (doi:10.2989/20702620.2016.1233777).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Land cover has changed rapidly across the tropics over the past century; however detailed 18 historical information describing the extent and possible drivers of such change is widely 19 lacking. Here, we constructed a history of land cover change at the district level in Malawi 20 over a 37 year period from 1972 to 2009, the immediate post-colonial phase. Overall, there 21 was a loss of 12,760km2 (36%) of original forested area but also 11,161km2 of new forest 22 establishment resulting in a relatively modest overall net loss of 1,599km2 (5%). We 23 correlated changes in deforestation and forest establishment with changes in socioeconomic 24 variables derived from spatially explicit data from the same time period. Deforestation was 25 positively correlated with (in order of influence) changes in male school attendance, sex ratio, 26 population density, hospital bed numbers, protected areas, and dependency rate, but 27 negatively correlated with changes in cattle density; with forest establishment broadly 28 showing the inverse relationships with the same variables. Although direct drivers of 29 deforestation are well known for Malawi and much of Africa, the significance of 30 socioeconomic variables within this study can help understand the underlying social 31 pressures behind such drivers. In particular, development, population pressure, and 32 demographic factors are important predictors of deforestation rate within our study area.

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Accepted/In Press date: 24 July 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 December 2016
Keywords: afforestation, deforestation, drivers, land use change, reforestation, rural, urban
Organisations: Centre for Environmental Science, Centre for Biological Sciences

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Local EPrints ID: 406840
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/406840
PURE UUID: b3eb6af0-5379-4f91-a15c-cd5a1f46aa28

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Date deposited: 24 Mar 2017 02:03
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 06:17

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