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Institutions and ecosystem-based development potentials of the Elephant Marsh, Malawi

Wetlands and other aquatic ecosystems cover about 20 per cent of Malawi’s surface area. The Elephant Marsh, a wetland in southern Malawi, is important for fishing, agriculture, hunting and the collection of natural resources for the livelihoods of local communities. However, there has been increasing pressure on the ecosystem driven by climate change, population growth, rural poverty and agricultural conversion, all of which threaten the future of the wetland. Currently, Malawi does not have either a national wetland policy or a climate change policy. This study aims to establish the development potentials of Elephant Marsh from an ecosystem-based perspective. It reveals that there are multiple development potentials in fisheries, agriculture, biomass for energy, conservation and tourism. The paper emphasises that as these opportunities are developed, there will be the need to strengthen management institutions at local and national levels, as well as the coordination between the two.