Economic contribution of fuel wood from Dzalanyama forest reserve to rural livelihoods of surrounding communities of Lilongwe district in central Malawi
People living near Dzalanyama Forest Reserve in Lilongwe District of Central Malawi collect various forest products throughout the year. This paper quantifies the contribution of fuel wood as a non-timber forest product (NTFP) to income and food security of the households surrounding the Dzalanyama Forest Reserve. A sample of 150 migrant exotic fuel wood collectors, migrant indigenous wood collectors and charcoal burners within 25 km radius of Dzalanyama Forest Reserve, were randomly selected using twostage cluster sampling method and probability proportion to size (PPS). The results showed that most women sold head-loads as collected and none traveled to town to sell fuel wood. It is clear from the results that the collectors who sold wood to town earned more revenue than collectors who sold wood within the village. The results further show that mode of transport affected the amount of revenue earned from fuel wood sales, with bicycle being more remunerative than head loads. Women used head load and rarely accessed urban markets, which explain their lower earnings than men. Consequently, men's earnings contributed 12% to food security compared with only 5% for women. Thus, although minimal, the incomes realized assisted communities surrounding Dzalanyama Forest Reserve to reduce the impact of shocks and stress of low yields and crop failure. To ensure economic and ecological sustainability of the Forest Reserve, there is a need for participatory management planning, involving all stakeholders.
Keywords: Dzalanyama, food security, fuel wood, Malawi, non-timber forest products
Eastern Africa Journal of Rural Development Vol. 21 (1) 2005: pp. 44-54