Disappearing Forests in Malawi: Causes and Solutions

Disappearing Forests in Malawi: Causes and Solutions


Malawi has experienced rapid population growth coupled with soil erosion, land degradation, deforestation, hunger, and poverty. While it appears these trends are related, the author argues that the causes are more complex. 

Goals & Methods

The goal of this thesis is to look beyond the proximate causes of deforestation In Malawi and provide a more contextualized explanation for the issue. This goal is realized first through exploring the theory of deforestation in order to question Malthusian and neo-Malthusian explanations. The author then examines the history of Malawi and the country's wider social, political, and economic trends, connecting each back to deforestation. 

Conclusions & Takeaways

The author concludes that population growth is an important driver of deforestation but is insufficient as a reason by itself. Instead, she identifies agriculture, issues of land tenure, migration, and other factors as underlying drivers of deforestation in Malawi. Finally, she offers short-term and long-term policy recommendations to improve the condition of Malawi's forests as well as benefitting economic growth, food security, and public health. 




Kerr, A. (2005). Disappearing Forests in Malawi: Causes and Solutions. Research Project. University of California, Berkeley. Accessed: June 2020.


  • University of California, Berkeley, California