Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Unsustainable trade-offs: provisioning ecosystem services in rapidly changing Likangala River catchment in southern Malawi

Abstract

Provisioning ecosystem services of the Likangala River Catchment in southern Malawi are important for livelihoods of those living there. Remote sensing, participatory mapping and focus group discussions were used to explore the spatio-temporal changes and trade-offs in land-cover change from 1984 to 2013, and how that affects provisioning ecosystem services in the area. Communities derive a number of provisioning ecosystem services from the catchment. Forty-eight species of edible wild animals (including birds), 28 species of edible wild plants and fungi, 22 species of medicinal plants, construction materials, ornamental flowers, firewood, honey, gum, reeds and thatch/weaving grasses were derived from the catchment and used by local communities. These provisioning services are under threat from land-use change within two “hot-spots”, Zomba Mountain and mouth of the river at Lake Chilwa. Zomba Mountain has experienced losses in forests and gains in shrublands, and Lake Chilwa area saw losses of forests, wetlands and shrublands due to increased areas under cultivation. Extrapolation of trends of land cover change in the catchment until 2023 revealed that forests and wetlands will occupy less than 2% of the catchment, while urban areas will grow to over 5% of catchment area. The main driver for land-use change is need for expansion of agricultural land for food production. Participatory mapping and focus group discussions point towards a decline in provisioning services in the catchment and spill-over effects to other catchments. This requires a holistic approach to address the drivers of land-use change for effective management of this ecosystem.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. Angelsen, A., Jagger, P., Babigumira, R., Belcher, B., Hogarth, N. J., Bauch, S., et al. (2014). Environmental income and rural livelihoods: A global comparative analysis. World Development,64(S1), S12–S28.

  2. Bagstad, K. J., Villa, F., Batker, D., Harrison-Cox, J., Voigt, B., & Johnson, G. W. (2014). From theoretical to actual ecosystem services: Mapping beneficiaries and spatial flows in ecosystem service assessments. Ecology and Society,19(2), 64.

  3. Bennett, E. M., Cramer, W., Begossi, A., Cundill, G., Díaz, S., Egoh, B. N., et al. (2015). Linking biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being: Three challenges for designing research for sustainability. Current Opinions in Environmental Sustainnability.,14, 76–85.

  4. Bharucha, Z., & Pretty, J. (2010). The roles and values of wild foods in agricultural systems. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society Biological Sciences,365, 2913–2926.

  5. Bloomfield, K., & Young, A. (1961). The geology and geomorphology of Zomba mountain. The Nyasaland Journal,14(2), 54–80.

  6. Bommarco, R., Kleijn, D., & Potts, S. (2013). Ecological intensification: Harnessing ecosystem services for food security. Trends in Ecological Evolution,28, 230–238.

  7. Bone, R. A., Parks, K. E., Hudson, M. D., Tsirinzeni, M., & Willcock, S. (2016). Deforestation since independence: A quantitative assessment of four decades of land-cover change in Malawi. Southern Forests: A Journal of Forest Science. https://doi.org/10.2989/20702620.2016.1233777.

  8. Brink, A. B., & Eva, H. D. (2009). Monitoring 25 years of land cover change dynamics in Africa: A sample based remote sensing approach. Applied Geography,29(4), 501–512.

  9. Brown, G., & Fagerholm, N. (2015). Empirical PPGIS/PGIS mapping of ecosystem services: A review and evaluation. Best Practices for Mapping Ecosystem Services,13, 119–133.

  10. Brown, G., Montag, J. M., & Lyon, K. (2012). Public Participation GIS: A Method for Identifying Ecosystem Services. Society and Natural Resources,25(7), 633–651.

  11. Burkhard, B., Krolla, F., Nedkovb, S., & Müllera, F. (2012). Mapping ecosystem service supply, demand and budgets. Ecological Indicators,21, 17–29.

  12. Canevari-Luzardo, L., Bastide, J., Choutet, I., & Liverman, D. (2015). Using partial participatory GIS in vulnerability and disaster risk reduction in Grenada. Climate and Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2015.1067593.

  13. Chidya, R. C. G., Sajidu, S. M. I., Mwatseteza, J. F., & Masamba, W. R. L. (2011). Evaluation and assessment of water quality in Likangala River and its catchment area. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth,36(14–15), 865–871.

  14. Cohen, J. A. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement,20(1), 37–46.

  15. Coppock, J. T., & Rhind, D. W. (1991). The history of GIS. In P. A. Longley, M. F. Goodchild, D. J. Maguire, & D. W. Rhind (Eds.), Geographical information systems: Principles and applications (Vol. 1, pp. 21–42). New York: Wiley.

  16. Costanza, R., d’Arge, R., de Groot, R., Farberk, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., et al. (1997). The value of the world’ s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature,387(May), 253–260.

  17. Delang, C. O. (2006). Not just minor forest products: The economic rationale for the consumption of wild food plants by subsistence farmers. Ecological Economics,59, 64–73.

  18. Díaz, S., Demissew, S., Carabias, J., Joly, C., Lonsdale, M., Ash, N., et al. (2015). The IPBES conceptual framework—connecting nature and people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 14, 1–16.

  19. Egoh, B., Reyers, B., Rouget, M., Richardson, D. M., Le Maitre, D. C., & van Jaarsveld, A. S. (2008). Mapping ecosystem services for planning and management. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment,127(1–2), 135–140.

  20. Ellis, E. C., & Ramankutty, N. (2008). Putting people in the map: Anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment,6(8), 439–447.

  21. Elwood, S. (2010). Geographic information science. Emerging research on the societal implications of the geospatial web. Progress in Human Geography,34(3), 349–357.

  22. ESRI. (2012). ArcGIS 10.1.

  23. FAO. (2014). The state of the world’s forest genetic resources; Malawi country report. Online publication available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3825e/i3825e 41.pdf. Accessed 17 May 2017.

  24. FAOSTAT. (2017). FAOSTAT Country Indicators: Malawi. Online publication available at http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#country/130. Accessed 18 July 2017.

  25. Foley, J. A., DeFries, R., Asner, G., Barford, C., Bonan, G., Carpenter, S., et al. (2005). Global consequences of land-use. Science,309(5734), 570–574.

  26. Gibbs, H. K., Ruesch, A. S., Achard, F., Clayton, M. K., Holmgren, P., Ramankutty, N., et al. (2010). Tropical forests were the primary sources of new agricultural land in the 1980s and 1990s. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,107(38), 16732–16737.

  27. Gosling, A., Shackleton, C. M., & Gambiza, J. (2017). Community-based natural resource use and management of Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, Uganda, for livelihood benefits. Wetland Ecology and Management. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-017-9546-y.

  28. Hmimina, G., Dufrene, E., Pontailler, J. Y., Delpierre, N., Aubinet, M., Caquet, B., et al. (2013). Evaluation of the potential of MODIS satellite data to predict vegetation phenology in different biomes: An investigation using ground-based NDVI measurements. Remote Sensing of Environment,132, 145–158.

  29. Holland, R. A., Eigenbrod, F., Armsworth, P. R., Anderson, B. J., Thomas, C. D., & Gaston, K. J. (2011). The influence of temporal variation on relationships between ecosystem services. Biodiversity Conservation,20, 3285–3294.

  30. Ickowitz, A. (2003). Poverty and the environment. In K. Griffin (Ed.), Poverty reduction in Mongolia (pp. 95–112). Canberra: Asia Pacific Press.

  31. Jamu, D., Chimphamba, J., & Brummett, R. (2003). Land-use and cover changes in the Likangala catchment of the Lake Chilwa basin, Malawi: Implications for managing a tropical wetland. African Journal of Aquatic Science,28(2), 123–135.

  32. Jensen, J. R. (2005). Digital image processing: A remote sensing perspective (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

  33. Kambewa, D. (2014). Tenure security and land-use in the Lake Chilwa wetlands. In P. Mvula, et al. (Eds.), Towards defragmenting the management system of Lake Chilwa Basin, Malawi (pp. 51–60). Munster: Lit Verlag.

  34. Kehoe, L., Romero-Muñoz, A., Polaina, E., Estes, L., Kreft, H., & Kuemmerle, T. (2017). Biodiversity at risk under future cropland expansion and intensification. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0234-3.

  35. Khatami, R., Mountrakis, G., & Stehman, S. V. (2016). A meta-analysis of remote sensing research on supervised pixel-based land-cover image classification processes: General guidelines for practitioners and future research. Remote Sensing of Environment,177, 89–100.

  36. Kindu, M., Schneider, T., Teketay, D., & Knoke, T. (2013). Land use/land cover change analysis using object-based classification approach in Munessa-Shashemene landscape of the Ethiopian Highlands. Remote Sensing,5, 2411–2435.

  37. Koch, E. W., Barbier, E. B., Silliman, B. R., Reed, D. J., Perillo, G. M., Hacker, S. D., et al. (2009). Non-linearity in ecosystem services: Temporal and spatial variability in coastal protection. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment,7, 29–37.

  38. Lambin, E. F., Turner, B. L., II, Helmut, J. G., Agbola, S. B., Angelsen, A., Bruce, J. W., et al. (2001). The causes of land-use and land-cover change: Moving beyond the myths. Global Environmental Change,11, 261–269.

  39. Lillesand, T., Kiefer, R. W., & Chipman, J. (2014). Remote sensing and image interpretation seventh. New York: Wiley.

  40. Malawi Government and Satellitbild. (1993). Forest Resources Mapping and Biomass Assessment for Malawi. Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources (ed.), Satellitbild, a subsidiary of Swedish Space Corporation, Lilongwe, Malawi and Kiruna, Sweden.

  41. Maloya, H. (2005). There is Wealth in our Wetlands, a Call for their Conservation. Online publication available at http://www.ramsar.org/sites/default/files/documents/library/wwd2005_rpt_malawi1.pdf. Accessed on 17 May 2017.

  42. Mangwale, K., Shackleton, C. M., & Sigwela, A. (2017). Changes in forest cover and carbon stocks of the coastal scarp forests of the Wild Coast. South Africa: Southern Forests. https://doi.org/10.2989/20702620.2016.1255480.

  43. Martínez-Harms, M. J., & Balvanera, P. (2012). Methods for mapping ecosystem service supply: A review. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and Management,8(1–2), 17–25.

  44. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2003). Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Current State and Trends Assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press.

  45. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: Wetlands and water synthesis. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.

  46. National Statistical Office. (1987). Population and Household Census. Zomba: Government of Malawi.

  47. National Statistical Office. (1998). Population and Household Census. Zomba: Government of Malawi.

  48. National Statistical Office. (2008). Population and Household Census. Zomba: Government of Malawi.

  49. Ncube, K., Shackleton, C. M., Swallow, B. M., & Dassanayake, W. (2016). Impacts of HIV/AIDS on food consumption and wild food use in rural South Africa. Food Security,8, 1135–1151.

  50. Nelson, E., Mendoza, G., Regetz, J., Polasky, S., Tallis, H., Cameron, D., et al. (2009). Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and tradeoffs at landscape scales. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment,7, 4–11.

  51. Nicholson, E., Mace, G. M., Armsworth, P. R., Atkinson, G., Buckle, S., Clements, T., et al. (2009). Priority research areas for ecosystem services in a changing world. Journal of Applied Ecology,46(6), 1139–1144.

  52. Njaya, F., Snyder, K. A., Jamu, D., Wilson, J., Howard-Williams, C., Allison, E. H., et al. (2011). The natural history and fisheries ecology of Lake Chilwa, southern Malawi. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 37, 15–25.

  53. Palmer, M. (2012). Encountering indigital geographic information networks. Cartographica,47(2), 92–104.

  54. Paumgarten, F., & Shackleton, C. M. (2011). The role of non-timber forest products in household coping strategies in South Africa: The influence of household wealth and gender. Population and Environment,33, 108–131.

  55. Poppy, G., Chiotha, S., Eigenbrod, F., Harvey, C., Honzak, M., Hudson, M., et al. (2014). Food security in a perfect storm: An ecosystem services approach. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.,369, 20120288. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2012.0288.

  56. Powell, B., Hall, J., & Johns, T. (2011). Forest cover, use and dietary intake in the East Usambara Mountains. Tanzania. International Forestry Review,13(3), 305–317.

  57. Pullanikkatil, D., Palamuleni, L., & Ruhiiga, T. (2016a). Assessment of land-use change in Likangala River Catchment, Malawi: A remote sensing and DPSIR approach. Applied Geography,71, 9–23.

  58. Pullanikkatil, D., Palamuleni, L. G., & Ruhiiga, T. M. (2016b). Land-use/land cover change and implications for ecosystems services in the Likangala River Catchment, Malawi. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth,93, 96–103.

  59. Ramsar. (2005). World Wetlands Day Reports: Malawi. Online publication available at: http://www.ramsar.org Accessed May 5, 2017.

  60. Rayfuse, R., & Weisfelt, N. (Eds.). (2012). The Challenge of Food Security. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishers.

  61. Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, Å., Chapin, F. S., III, Lambin, E. F., et al. (2009). A safe operating space for humanity. Nature,461, 472–475.

  62. Rodríguez, J. P., Beard, T. D., Jr., Bennett, E. M., Cumming, G. S., Cork, S., Agard, J., et al. (2006). Trade-offs across space, time, and ecosystem services. Ecology and Society,11(1), 28.

  63. Roth, R. (2009). The challenges of mapping complex indigenous spatiality. Cultural Geographies,16, 207–227.

  64. Rouse, W., Haas, R. H., & Deering, D. W. (1974). Monitoring vegetation systems in the Great Plains with ERTS, NASA SP-351. Washington, DC: NASA.

  65. Shackleton, C. M., & Pandey, A. K. (2014). Positioning non-timber forest products on the development agenda. Forest Policy and Economics,38, 1–7.

  66. Shackleton, R., Shackleton, C., Shackleton, S., & Gambiza, J. (2013). Deagrarianisation and forest revegetation in a biodiversity hotspot on the Wild Coast. South Africa. PLoS ONE,8(10), e76939. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0076939.

  67. Stickler, M. M., & Shackleton, C. M. (2015). Local wood demand, land cover change and the state of Albany Thicket on an urban commonage in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Environmental Management,55, 411–422.

  68. Sunderlin, W. D., Angelsen, A., & Wunder, S. (2003). Forests and poverty alleviation (pp. 61–73). State of the World’s Forests.

  69. Townshend, J. R., Masek, J. G., Huang, C., Vermote, E. F., Gao, F., & Channan, S. (2012). Global characterization and monitoring of forest cover using Landsat data: Opportunities and challenges. International Journal of Digital Earth,5(5), 373–397.

  70. van Breugel, P., Kindt, R., Lillesø, J.P.B., Bingham, M., Demissew, S., Dudley, C., Friis, I., Gachathi, F., Kalema, J., Mbago, F., Moshi, H.N., Mulumba, J., Namaganda, M., Ndangalasi, H.J., Ruffo, C.K., Védaste, M., Jamnadass, R. and Graudal, L. (2015). Potential Natural Vegetation Map of Eastern Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). Version 2.0. Forest and Landscape (Denmark) and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Online publication available at: http://vegetationmap4africa.org. Accessed 8 May 2017.

  71. Villa, F., Bagstad, K. J., Voigt, B., Johnson, G. W., Portela, R., Honzak, M., et al. (2014). Methodology for adaptable and robust ecosystem services assessment. PLoS ONE,9(3), e91001. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0091001.

  72. World Bank Indicators. (2017). Malawi Population. Online publication available at http://data.worldbank.org/country/malawi. Accessed 17 May 2017.

  73. Wunder, S., Angelsen, A., & Belcher, B. (2014a). Forests Livelihoods and Conservation: Broadening the Empirical Base. World Development,64, 1–11.

  74. Wunder, S., Börner, J., Shively, G., & Wyman, M. (2014b). Safety nets, gap filling and forests: A global comparative perspective. World Development. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.03.005.

  75. Young, J., & Gilmore, M. (2017). participatory uses of geospatial technologies to leverage multiple knowledge systems within development contexts: A case study from the peruvian amazon. World Development,93, 389–401.

  76. Zomba District Council. (2010). Zomba District 2009 Socio Economic Profile. Online publication available at http://geographyfieldwork.com/Malawi/Socio-EconomicProfile.pdf. Accessed 17 May 2017.

Download references

Acknowledgements

The study was funded through NorthWest University’s Ph.D. bursary. All community members who participated in the mapping and focus group discussions are thanked. Preparation time by PD, PM and CS for the paper was supported by the South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Dept of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation of South Africa. Any opinion, finding, conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the authors and the NRF does not accept any liability in this regard.

Author information

Correspondence to Deepa Pullanikkatil.

Ethics declarations

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from the legal authorised representative of participant for publication of the images in (Fig. 3b, d).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pullanikkatil, D., Mograbi, P.J., Palamuleni, L. et al. Unsustainable trade-offs: provisioning ecosystem services in rapidly changing Likangala River catchment in southern Malawi. Environ Dev Sustain 22, 1145–1164 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-018-0240-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Ecosystems trade-offs
  • Land-use change
  • Likangala River
  • Livelihoods
  • Long-term change
  • Mapping
  • Participatory GIS