Malawi flag

The Department of Forestry is the institution leading the development of the country’s National Forest Landscape Restoration Assessment and National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy, with support from three Task Forces (Stocktaking, Mapping and Monitoring; Policies and Institutions; and, Economics and Finance). These working groups are comprised of representatives more than 10 Ministries and Departments, with additional representation from academia and civil society organizations.

USAID and the Governments of Germany (BMZ and BMU) and the UK (UKaid) are major funders, with technical and financial support channeled through the USAID/Malawi-funded Protecting Ecosystems and Restoring Forests in Malawi (PERFORM) Project, WRI and IUCN.   

Malawi, a small landlocked country located in Southern Africa, has been increasingly impacted in recent decades by weather and climate-related shocks—a trend that is projected to continue in the future (Malawi Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, USAID, 2013). By way of example, the 2014/2015 agricultural season was characterized by drought across much of the country, and severe localized flooding in other areas, resulting in significant crop damage, loss of productive assets and loss property for affected populations. This was followed in the 2015/2016 agricultural season by an extreme El Nino-related drought that affected much of the country. As a direct result of these successive shocks, in December 2016 6.5 million people—more than 1/3 of the population—were in need of food aid.

Recent droughts have reduced crop yields to 34 percent below the average yields of the past 5 years.  Food security and resilience to climate change are being undermined by extensive land degradation and deforestation driven by unproductive extensive agricultural practices, unsustainable harvesting of trees largely for urban household fuel (both in the form of charcoal and firewood). And poor management in upper watersheds has resulted in both water and electricity shortages, which further impact human health and well-being, and economic growth potential.

It is against this backdrop that the Government of Malawi decided to invest in Forest Landscape Restoration, which began with a pilot Forest Landscape Restoration Assessment in Machinga District. Based on the results, and specifically the potential to use FLR to support cross-sectoral development, Malawi expressed interest in participating in the AFR100 Partnership in November 2015, and officially launched the National Forest Landscape Restoration Assessment in February 2016—a process which has engaged well over 500 people from across Malawi, including District-level data collection and verification in 27 of Malawi’s 28 Districts. The NFLRA Report and Strategy will be finalized in 2017.

Restoration Commitment

Restoration Commitment: 
4.5 million hectares
Year Committed: 
Priority Interventions: 
  • Agricultural technologies (conservation agriculture, farmer-managed natural regeneration, and agroforestry)
  • Community forests and communal/private woodlots
  • Natural forest management and plantation management
  • Soil and water conservation
  • River and stream-bank restoration
Alignment with domestic targets: 
  • Supports the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II, specifically Sections: 1.0 Agriculture and Food Security; 6.0 Integrated Rural Development; 7.0 Green Belt Irrigation and Water Development; and, 9.0 Climate Change, Natural Resources and Environmental Management.
  • Supports the draft National Resilience Plan currently being led by the Government’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs
  • Helps to raise adoption rates of improved land and water management practices (including climate smart agriculture and watershed management); improve food and water security; reinforce and scale up ongoing efforts to promote reforestation of denuded forest land; protect and manage forest regeneration and trees and shrubs on cropland to increase the supply of fuelwood and other forest products; enhance carbon storage; and improve rural livelihoods
  • Builds on past and current efforts to achieve REDD+ outcomes; address vulnerability; adapt and mitigate climate change; and boost rural incomes
  • Supports Malawi’s INDC to promote “agroforestry systems in targeted locations as source of biomass and soil carbon sequestration, and the planting of nitrogen-fixing plants to reduce fertilizer usage; as well as potentially reduced and zero tillage”
Requested assistance from AFR100: 
  • Assistance to implement ROAM at national level
  • Assistance to help scale up restoration initiatives, including communication and outreach
  • Assistance to organize a Southern African Regional FLR Forum to highlight the AFR100/Bonn Challenge initiatives, exchange experiences and communicate effective approaches to implement FLR at scale
  • Assistance to mobilize increased public and private sector funding for scaling up restoration in degraded areas prone to disasters