My first ICCB Conference Experience! Was it worth it?

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. Peoples’ interaction with nature fascinated me the most and I thought I can somehow contribute to generating and disseminating knowledge on the phenomena. 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.

My interests centres around finding solutions on how best natural resource can be managed while balancing the needs of the growing human population and development. During my masters I studied the effectiveness of different protected area management regimes on wildlife management and surrounding peoples’ livelihoods.

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Agriculture, particularly to understand the linkages and trade-offs for biodiversity conservation and agriculture in the context of developing countries.

Current Research


In my DPhil/PhD research I am using interdisciplinary approaches to address the the question of how how biodiversity goals can be achieved without compromising peoples food security.

Specifically, my research aims to achieve the following objectives;

  1. Assess people’s interactions with nature and how it relates to their farming livelihoods.
  2. Assess how gendered dynamics within and between households influence land use systems, livelihoods and biodiversity use.
  3. Assess the predicted trajectory of biodiversity under current trends in agricultural activity using statistical model, and explore how this model can be extended to better reflect drivers of biodiversity loss in African agricultural landscapes.
  4. Draw together these insights from objectives 1-3 at the individual, household and landscape scales, and use them to explore scenarios for sustainable futures that benefit both biodiversity and livelihoods.

Brief CV

  • 2016- 2020: Lecturer in Natural Resources Management 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