n Southern African Forestry Journal - Organic matter fuel briquettes as a forest conservation tool in Lake Malawi National Park : research note




Environmental degradation including deforestation is of great concern in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, even in many protected areas. One of them is Lake Malawi National Park (LMNP), which encases the most populated village in Malawi, Chembe. The rise in population has increased the pressure to utilize natural resources in LMNP, and the collection of firewood for domestic use as well as for commercial purposes has led to woodland degradation in the park area. To assist LMNP and its stakeholders in combating deforestation, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Finland has promoted organic matter fuel briquettes as a substitute to firewood since 2001. <br>This article is the result of data collection related to the monitoring of the briquette project and forest management practices in LMNP. Results showed that illegal firewood collection inside park area is widespread and its control inefficient. It was also found that despite interest towards fuel briquettes, cost is the limiting factor when people choose their fuel source. Stronger marketing efforts are needed to increase the viability of the briquette business. Another alternative would be to teach families how to make briquettes for household use. Concentrated efforts to regulate "free" fuelwood collection inside park area are needed to reverse deforestation.


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