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Population, land tenure, and natural resource management: the case of customary land area in Malawi

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Author Info

  • Place, Frank
  • Otsuka, Keijiro

Abstract

This paper uses cross section-time series data on 57 communities in Malawi to determine statistically the factors determining changes in land use, tree cover, and crop yield. The econometric model is developed from a theoretical model which also endogenizes population growth and prevailing land tenure institutions within the customary sector of Malawi. The analysis reflects changes between 1971 and 1995, utilizing aerial photos taken at these dates and complementing these with field surveys. The data show a deterioration of Malawi's natural resource base: declining yields, loss of tree cover, and near exhaustion of land for agricultural expansion. Key findings are that population pressure induces land conversion but not yield or tree cover change; the matrilocal system of household residence is negatively associated with tree cover but induces agricultural conversion; and there is some improvement in management of resources as their scarcity increases. Policy recommendations include greater focus on agroforestry to increase tree cover as woodland areas are poorly managed, and increased effort to improve market integration since this benefits crop yields without adverse effects on tree cover.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series EPTD discussion papers with number 27.

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Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:27

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Related research

Keywords: Crop yields.; Econometric models.; Population density.; Forest management.; Malawi.;

References

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  1. Frank Place & Keijiro Otsuka, 2000. "Population Pressure, Land Tenure, and Tree Resource Management in Uganda," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(2), pages 233-251.
  2. Otsuka, Keijiro & Suyanto, S. & Tomich, Thomas P., 1997. "Does land tenure insecurity discourage tree planting?: evolution of customary land tenure and agroforestry management in Sumatra," EPTD discussion papers 31, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Ault, David E & Rutman, Gilbert L, 1979. "The Development of Individual Rights to Property in Tribal Africa," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 163-82, April.
  4. Jonathan Kydd, 1989. "Maize research in Malawi: Lessons from failure," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 112-144, January.
  5. Ehui, Simeon K. & Hertel, Thomas W. & Preckel, Paul V., 1990. "Forest resource depletion, soil dynamics, and agricultural productivity in the tropics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 136-154, March.
  6. French, David, 1986. "Confronting an unsolvable problem: Deforestation in Malawi," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 531-540, April.
  7. Mendelsohn, Robert, 1994. "Property Rights and Tropical Deforestation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 750-56, Supplemen.
  8. Smale, Melinda, 1995. ""Maize is life": Malawi's delayed Green Revolution," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 819-831, May.
  9. Kydd, Jonathan & Christiansen, Robert, 1982. "Structural change in Malawi since independence: Consequences of a development strategy based on large-scale agriculture," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 355-375, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fisher, Monica G. & Shively, Gerald E., 2003. "Do Tropical Forests Provide A Safety Net? Income Shocks And Forest Extraction In Malawi," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22228, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  2. Ryan, James G., 1999. "Assessing the impact of policy research and capacity building by IFPRI in Malawi:," Impact assessments 11, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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