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Justice in the Forests: Malawi - Burning Issues, the Problem of Charcoal| 18mins
Director: Dominic Elliot | Producer: IIED & Dominic Elliot
Focus Years: 2011 | Country: United Kingdom
Subject Tags: africa, conflict, environment, malawi
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
Charcoal is one of Malawi’s biggest industries. It provides livelihoods for over 45,000, supplies the energy needs to more than 85 percent of Malawian households, but 60 percent of that charcoal comes from the country’s forest reserves and its production is destroying its forests. In an effort to control the industry, the government drafted the Forest Act of 1997, which only allows charcoal to be produced under license. But so far, this policy is proving ineffective. Burning issues explores the nature of the problem with charcoal - its production - which has such devastating environmental impacts. It presents the case for community managed forests as a possible solution to charcoal production - and that legalization and management can make it a sustainable source of green energy as well as reducing poverty at the community level. And it shows how by bringing the issue out in the open with a public debate, including multiple stakeholders, can have tremendous results for policy and behavioral change. The film series "Justice in the Forests" explores the question: who gets to decide about forests? With deforestation causing such havoc for biodiversity, the climate and the livelihoods of millions of forest-dependent people around the world, it is an important question. The Forest Governance Learning Group is a network of teams in ten countries in Africa and Asia who grapple with this question and believe that solutions to forestry problems lie in increasing the power of local people over forest decisions. These films show how small teams can have a big impact in tackling forest governance.

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