Innovation Emerging from Livelihoods: Natural Resource Management in Lake Malawi

  • Tetsu SatoEmail author
  • Dylo Pemba
  • Chigusa Nakagawa
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


The eradication of poverty is an urgent global challenge. However, the solution to this issue is difficult, especially given uncertainty of the behavior of complex social-ecological systems. This chapter considers the nature of transdisciplinary (TD) research that is necessary to deal with such complex and wicked problems. Through collaborative TD research conducted with the socially vulnerable people, in this case people living in poverty in Lake Malawi riparian communities in East Africa, it became apparent that various autonomous innovations (tools) were emerging which contribute to the improvement of well-being and sustainable management of natural resources among people living in poverty who have been regarded as the targets of aid. Through the construction of a toolbox that promotes societal transformation toward sustainability, this chapter proposes a new approach of TD research conducted with socially vulnerable people to visualize values of knowledge and technologies that promote autonomous natural resource management and pluriactivity in livelihoods to improve well-being of these people and achieve natural resource sustainability.


  1. Abbot JIO, Mace R (1999) Managing protected woodland: fuelwood collection and law enforcement in Lake Malawi National Park. Conserv Biol 13:418–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biggs R, Rhode C, Archibald S, Kunene LM, Mutanga SS, Nkuna N, Ocholla PO, Phadima LJ (2015) Strategies for managing complex social-ecological systems in the face of uncertainty: examples from South Africa and beyond. Ecol Soc 20(1):52. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Government of Malawi (2002) Malawi state of the environment report. Department of Environmental Affairs, LilongweGoogle Scholar
  4. Government of Malawi (2012a) Malawi growth and development strategy II (MGDS II) 2011–2016. Government of Malawi, LilongweGoogle Scholar
  5. Government of Malawi (2012b) National fisheries policy 2012–2017. Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, LilongweGoogle Scholar
  6. Government of Malawi (2012c) Integrated household survey 2010–2011. National Statistical Office, ZombaGoogle Scholar
  7. Kada Y, Nakayama S, Malekano L (2002) Are you sure Mbuna don’t taste good? Fish eating culture and environmental problems of Lake Malawi (ムブナはおいしくない?-アフリカ,マラウィ湖の魚食文化と環境問題). In: Miyamoto M, Matsuda M (eds) Social changes in modern Africa – observations on dynamics of language and culture. Jimbun Shoin, Kyoto, pp 260–283 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  8. Lang DJ, Wiek A, Bergmann M, Stauffacher M, Martens M, Moll P, Swilling M, Thomas CJ (2012) Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges. Sustain Sci 7(suppl. 1):25–43. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Makino M, Matsuda H, Sakurai Y (2009) Expanding fisheries co-management to ecosystem management: a case in the Shiretoko world natural heritage area, Japan. Fishery Policy 33:207–214Google Scholar
  10. Makino M, Hirota M, Machiguchi Y (2011) Study on coastal fishing management using management toolbox – for sea cucumber fishing (管理ツール・ボックスを用いた沿岸漁業管理の考察-ナマコ漁業の場合). Fish Biol Oceanogr Kuroshio 12:25–39 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  11. Matsuda H, Makino M, Vlachopoulou IE (2018) Drawing plans of a house that already stands: the wisdom of the Shiretoko region, a world heritage site of Japan. Chapter 4 of this volumeGoogle Scholar
  12. Mauser W, Klepper G, Rice M, Schmalzbauer BS, Hackmann H, Leemans R, Moore H (2013) Transdisciplinary global change research: the co-creation of knowledge for sustainability. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 5:420–431. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Salmi P (2005) Rural pluriactivity in livelihoods as a coping strategy in small-scale fisheries. Sociol Rural 45:22–36. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Sato T (2008) Science and society over the local environment-connection between outside knowledge and indigenous knowledge (地域環境をめぐる科学と社会-外来の知識と土着的知識体系のかかわり). In: Matsunaga S (ed) Environment – culture and policy. Toshindo, Tokyo, pp 159–184 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  15. Sato T (2009) From knowledge to wisdom – residential research institutions bringing together indigenous and scientific knowledge (知識から智慧へ-土着的知識と科学的知識をつなぐレジデント型研究機関). In: Kito S, Fukunaga M (eds) Environmental ethics. University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, pp 211–226 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  16. Sato T (2014a) Integrated local environmental knowledge supporting adaptive governance of local communities. In: Alvares C (ed) Multicultural knowledge and the university. Multiversity India, Mapusa, pp 268–273Google Scholar
  17. Sato T (2014b) Knowledge-generating commons: production, distribution and use of integrated local environmental knowledge (知識を生み出すコモンズ:地域環境知の生産・流通・活用). In: Akimichi T (ed) The thought of commons in Japan. Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, pp 196–212 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  18. Sato T (2015) Theory of sustainability science: solution-oriented production of integrated knowledge (サステイナビリティ学の科学論-課題解決に向けた統合知の生産). Environ Res Q 177:52–59 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  19. Sato T (2016) Field Scientist: the perspective of integrated local environment studies (フィールドサイエンティスト-地域環境学という発想). University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, 235 pp (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  20. Sato T, Makimoto N, Mwafulirwa D, Mizoiri S (2008) Unforced control of fishing activities as a result of coexistence with underwater protected areas in Lake Malawi National Park, East Africa. Tropics 17:335–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Scholz U, Chimatiro S (2004) Institutionalizing traditional community-based natural resource management. IK Notes 64:1–4Google Scholar
  22. UNESCO (1999) Declaration on science and the use of scientific knowledge. Accessed 19 Mar 2017
  23. United Nations Development Programme (2013) Human Development Report 2013. Accessed 19 Mar 2017
  24. United Nations General Assembly (2015) Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Accessed 19 Mar 2017

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Ehime UniversityMatsuyamaJapan
  3. 3.University of Malawi, Chancellor CollegeZombaMalawi
  4. 4.Ryukoku UniversityOtsuJapan

Personalised recommendations