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Research Article Open Access

The Impact of Participatory Forest Management on Tree Species Abundance and Diversity in Selected Village Forest Areas in Kasungu, Malawi


the influential article “The Tragedy of the Commons” in 1968, management approaches to share on natural resources has been widely discussed. In the context of forest resources management, peoplecentered participatory approach has been given more attention. A study was conducted to determine the impact of participatory forest management (PFM) on tree species abundance and diversity in selected village forest areas (VFA) in Kasungu, Malawi. A total of eight VFA’s (four under PFM approach and the other four outside PFM) were identified. An inventory was carried out using systematic line transect sampling design. The data obtained was analysed using R?nyi diversity profile in Biodiversity R. The results show that VFA’s under PFM had higher abundance Hα (3.22 to 3.61) at 0-Alpha than Hα (2.89 to 3.14) for VFA’s without PFM. This indicates that VFA’s under PFM had higher tree species abundance or richness than those without PFM. Furthermore, VFA’s under PFM were more diverse than non-PFM VFA’s. VFA’s under PFM had higher profiles, 3.45 to 1.83 from 0-Alpha to infinity, than non-PFM VFA’s, 3.03 to 1.15 from 0-Alpha to infinity on average. The differences appear to have been achieved due to regulated access and the forest development work communities exercised in the VFA’s under PFM. Therefore, it is recommended that the government mainstream PFM as one possible scheme in managing the country’s dwindling forest and woodland resources. However, further studies are needed in the study area to assess the impact of PFM on livelihoods of the communities.

Caroline Mtambo and Edward Missanjo

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