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The Links between Poverty and the Environment in Malawi

Author

Listed:
  • Bentry Mkwara

    (University of Waikato)

  • Dan Marsh

    (University of Waikato)

Abstract

Deforestation arising from conversion of forest areas into agriculture is a serious problem in Malawi. Cultivation of subsistence and cash crops is often cited as a major cause of this problem. This paper applies the von Thunen model to firstly, discuss competition for agricultural land and secondly, establish why the poor are closely associated with forests. Further, a regression analysis is conducted to examine the effects of changes in crop land use on changes in forest cover. Results indicate that cultivation of different crops has varying effects on deforestation. Cultivation of maize, primarily by the poor, appears to be the principal cause of deforestation while tobacco and pulses stand at second and third positions, respectively. Finally, a simple methodology is developed to estimate the extent of poverty-driven deforestation in Malawi.

Suggested Citation

  • Bentry Mkwara & Dan Marsh, 2009. "The Links between Poverty and the Environment in Malawi," Working Papers in Economics 09/10, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:09/10
    as

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    File URL: https://repec.its.waikato.ac.nz/wai/econwp/0910.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. McCann, Philip, 2001. "Urban and Regional Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198776451.
    2. Hyde, William F & Amacher, Gregory S & Magrath, William, 1996. "Deforestation and Forest Land Use: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 223-248, August.
    3. Place, Frank & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2001. "Population, Tenure, and Natural Resource Management: The Case of Customary Land Area in Malawi," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 13-32, January.
    4. Angelsen, Arild, 2007. "Forest cover change in space and time : combining the von Thunen and forest transition theories," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4117, The World Bank.
    5. Coxhead, Ian & Jayasuriya, Sisira, 2004. "Development strategy and trade liberalization: implications for poverty and environment in the Philippines," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(5), pages 613-644, October.
    6. Lã“Pez, Ramã“N, 2000. "Trade reform and environmental externalities in general equilibrium: analysis for an archetype poor tropical country," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(4), pages 377-404, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty; environment; agriculture; deforestation; Malawi;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry

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