2015 - 2018


Strengthening the Information Base of Natural Habitats, Biodiversity and Environmental Services in the Shire Basin

Summary: Under the overarching Shire River Basin Management Programme, this project increased the knowledge of biodiversity and natural habitats within the Shire River Basin, and supported Malawi’s responsibilities under their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP).

LTS built national capacity to undertake biodiversity assessments by working closely with its Malawi Government counterparts in the Forest Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM) and National Herbarium and Botanical Garden (NHBG), and also with the National Museums of Malawi.

The LTS team was comprised of zoological experts, botanical experts, GIS and land use planning specialists, environmental economists and a communications expert.

The knowledge generated through both remote assessment and field studies will be used to inform management decision making and improve understanding between biodiversity managers and local communities on the sustainable use of biodiversity.

The work helped identify globally rare and restricted range plant species and assessed the regeneration potential of degraded areas in the Shire River Basin.

Challenges: Information on biodiversity in the Shire River Basin, including natural habitats, has been scattered and sometimes inadequate for sound land use planning decisions. As the title suggests, this project sets out to strengthen the existing information base on natural habitats and biodiversity by producing an inventory of existing data and additional primary data from targeted botanical and zoological surveys.

Solutions: LTS conducted studies on natural ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity in the Shire River Basin, focused on a number of key sites: Lengwe and Liwonde National Parks, Mangochi, Tsamba Eastern Escarpment, Matandwe, Zomba-Malosa and Liwonde Forest Reserves. Rapid assessments helped identify other biodiversity hotspots and important corridors within the basin, which were the focus of more in depth zoological, forest product valuation, carbon sequestration and regeneration potential studies.

Value and Benefits: Land use planners in the Shire River Basin are now better able to make decisions based on up-to-date and comprehensive information related to natural habitats, regeneration potential, zoological biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The knowledge products produced through this project highlight the diversity of species found in Malawi’s Shire Basin, showcasing the region to tourists and wildlife enthusiasts, and highlighting potential future opportunities for ongoing research in the region.

Click on the links below to view the knowledge products related to this project:




Clients: Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation



Geography: Malawi

Date: 2015 - 2018


NIRAS has been working in PFM for the last 15 years, supporting national decentralisation processes and applying pa…
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