Protected Areas


 Areas Protected

 27,190 km2


Terrestrial and Inland Water



Area protected, as per WDPA

Area protected, as per country reports


Coastal and Marine Coverage

Not Applicable

Area protected or conserved,
as per WDPA


Key species

Malawi has rich plant diversity, with over 6,000 flowering plant species of which 122 are endemic. Of Malawi’s 192 mammal species, eight are listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List. Eighty-three species of amphibians have been recorded in Malawi of which six are endemic, while 8 of the 145 species of reptiles are endemic. Malawi has over 630 recorded bird species with just one endemic. On the other hand, of the over 850 freshwater fish species, 99% are endemic to Malawi. Malawi is also home to a wide variety of invertebrates and microorganisms.

Pressures and threats

Threats to biodiversity in Malawi are mainly human-induced and include habitat loss and fragmentation, over-exploitation of biological resources, introduction of alien species and climate change. Increasing human population and economic development have led to major land use change in Malawi, creating demand for land for agriculture and settlements. High levels of poverty have increased the reliance on natural resources, and particularly forests, which provide fuel for cooking for the vast majority of Malawi’s population.

Malawi has a high population density with protected areas having hard boundaries, resulting in most of the ecosystems in protected areas being vulnerable, and not natural. he Government of Malawi has entered into an agreement with the private sector, where African Parks Network increased management of protected areas from two to five, to include Nkhotakota Game Reserve, Liwonde National Park and Mangochi Forest Reserve in order to restore and protect them for sustainability.

Protected and conserved areas designated as global sites of importance

Global designation

Number of sites

UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves


UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Natural or Mixed)


Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites)


 Source ((Ramsar, 2019; UNESCO, 2019a, 2019b)


Priority areas for conservation


Number of sites

Alliance for Zero Extinction sites


Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas


Key Biodiversity Areas


 (AZE Secretariat, 2019; BirdLife International, 2019c, 2019a)

Regional Reference Information System Malawi

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