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Through collaborative actions, University of Worcester research has built the capacity of sub-Saharan African communities and non-governmental organisations (NGO) to implement a social-ecological Functional Landscape Approach (FLA) to managing wetlands and catchments.



Understanding the relationship between people, wetlands, and catchments is a critical pre-requisite to implementing strategies that address peoples’ livelihood needs, increase food security, reduce vulnerability to climate change, and sustain ecosystem services. 



Researchers investigated the social-ecological benefits to communities of implementing the FLA in Kankhulukulu catchment, Malawi.

Research in northern Malawi also explored the social-ecological sustainability of Tiyeni’s (an NGO) deep-bed farming (DBF) system of conservation agriculture (CA) and its contribution to the FLA as a catchment innovation.



Since 2017, community-based action research in Kankhulukulu has helped develop six community-based institutional structures to oversee wetland and catchment issues and led to the development of farmer-led low-tech environmental and livelihood monitoring systems.

Subsequent impacts have included crop diversification, enhanced environmental sustainability, and increased income generation.


More information

Institution: University of Worcester

Researchers: Dr Alex Dixon, Dr Rachael Carrie


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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2023) Wetland management and sustainable livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa. Available at  Last accessed on: <date>