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Common pool resource management in Lake Chilwa, Malawi: a wetland under pressure


  • Peter Mathias Mvula
  • Tobias Haller


This paper uses primary and secondary data sources to discuss changes in the management of the Lake Chilwa floodplain, Malawi, a wetland that is an important source of livelihood for over a million people who subsist on agriculture, fishing and birds. These common pool resources are under pressure, largely due to the economic value of the wetland and weaknesses in management. Colonial development split up this complex ecosystem into departmental districts and sections, making it hard to manage. Although the area is a Ramsar site, changes in economic interests combined with larger-scale economic developments have negatively affected the status of these resources, putting pressure on them and causing conflicts. The paper addresses the questions of entitlement to the use of interrelated common pool resources and power relations among local leaders, local people and immigrants to the area.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Mathias Mvula & Tobias Haller, 2009. "Common pool resource management in Lake Chilwa, Malawi: a wetland under pressure," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 539-553.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:4:p:539-553
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350903181332

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    Cited by:

    1. Ishmael B. M. Kosamu & Wouter T. de Groot & Patrick S. Kambewa & Geert R. de Snoo, 2012. "Institutions and Ecosystem-Based Development Potentials of the Elephant Marsh, Malawi," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(12), pages 1-20, December.


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