Lessah Mandoloma




Growing up in a country that is endowed with unique natural resources and yet threatened by human population growth, climate change, and limited livelihood options sparked my interest in conservation. Malawians depend on natural resources and the ecosystems services derived from them for almost all the basic necessities such as food, water, energy, health, and shelter. Although that is the case, increased human population growth has created demand on these resources resulting into conversion of land for agriculture to feed the growing population. The population growth coupled with limited livelihood alternatives for the rural and urban masses, has exacerbated poverty levels and increased vulnerability especially of rural communities to dire poverty.

As someone who is very passionate about conservation, I have been motivated to contribute to Malawi’s development through research and capacity building. My interests centre around finding solutions on how best natural resource can be managed while balancing the needs of the growing human populations. During my masters I studied the effectiveness of different protected area management regimes on wildlife management and surrounding livelihoods.

I am interested in Biodiversity and wildlife conservation issues including impacts of development on the well-being of species. Am particularly interested in understanding the linkages and trade-offs for biodiversity conservation and agriculture amidst human population growth and climate change challenges.

In my DPhil project am addressing the question of how can we sustainably conduct trade in agriculture while safeguarding biodiversity goals in the context of developing countries with a particular focus on Malawi. This is particularly relevant given the dilemma of food security which requires clearing forests for agriculture, the need to develop and engage in trade and also the need to conserve biodiversity of species most of which are endemic. Finding this balance is imperative to the future of biodiversity and any conservation efforts.

  • 2016- Present: Lecturer in Conservation Sciences at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Malawi
  • 2014-2016: MSc in Natural Resources Management-Human Ecology, Egerton University, Kenya
  • 2013-2014: Staff Associate at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR)
  • 2008-2012: BSc in Natural Resources management, University of Malawi-Bunda College now LUANAR
Lessah head and shoulders