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Article

Direct Measurement of Forest Degradation Rates in Malawi: Toward a National Forest Monitoring System to Support REDD+

1
Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services, Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA
2
Future Africa Institute, University of Pretoria, Hatfield 0028, South Africa
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Forest Research Institute of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi
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Malawi College of Forestry and Wildlife, Dedza, Malawi
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Department of Forestry, Ministry of Forests and Natural Resources, Lilongwe, Malawi
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Forestry Department, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lilongwe, Malawi
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ramón Alberto Díaz-Varela
Forests 2021, 12(4), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12040426
Received: 12 March 2021 / Revised: 29 March 2021 / Accepted: 30 March 2021 / Published: 1 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
Spatial time-series measurements of forest degradation rates are important for estimating national greenhouse gas emissions but have been challenging for open forests and woodlands. This lack of quantitative data on forest degradation rates, location and biomass is an important constraint to developing national REDD+ policy. In Malawi, and in most countries in Africa, most assessments of forest cover change for carbon emissions monitoring tend to report only deforestation in the public forest estate managed by the government, even when important forest degradation also occurs in agricultural areas, such as customary forests and other tree-based systems. This study has resulted in: (a) a new robust forest map for Malawi, (b) spatial and quantitative measurements of both forest degradation and deforestation, and (c) a demonstration of the approach through the introduction of a tool that maps across the broad landscape of forests and trees outside of forests. The results can be used to support REDD+ National Forest Monitoring Systems. This analysis produces new estimates of landscape-wide deforestation rates between 2000–2009 (22,410 ha yr−1) and 2009–2015 (38,937 ha yr−1). We further produce new estimates of the rate of forest degradation between 2000–2009 (42,961 ha yr−1) and 2009–2015 (71,878 ha yr−1). The contribution of these new tools and estimates to capacities for calculating carbon emissions are important, increasing prospects for full REDD+ readiness across semi-arid Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: REDD+; forest degradation; miombo; Malawi; carbon emissions REDD+; forest degradation; miombo; Malawi; carbon emissions
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MDPI and ACS Style

Skole, D.L.; Samek, J.H.; Mbow, C.; Chirwa, M.; Ndalowa, D.; Tumeo, T.; Kachamba, D.; Kamoto, J.; Chioza, A.; Kamangadazi, F. Direct Measurement of Forest Degradation Rates in Malawi: Toward a National Forest Monitoring System to Support REDD+. Forests 2021, 12, 426. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12040426

AMA Style

Skole DL, Samek JH, Mbow C, Chirwa M, Ndalowa D, Tumeo T, Kachamba D, Kamoto J, Chioza A, Kamangadazi F. Direct Measurement of Forest Degradation Rates in Malawi: Toward a National Forest Monitoring System to Support REDD+. Forests. 2021; 12(4):426. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12040426

Chicago/Turabian Style

Skole, David L., Jay H. Samek, Cheikh Mbow, Michael Chirwa, Dan Ndalowa, Tangu Tumeo, Daud Kachamba, Judith Kamoto, Alfred Chioza, and Francis Kamangadazi. 2021. "Direct Measurement of Forest Degradation Rates in Malawi: Toward a National Forest Monitoring System to Support REDD+" Forests 12, no. 4: 426. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12040426

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