This article examines deforestation-induced environmental change in the Southern Region of Malawi. The political ecology approach is used to critique this change, assessing how colonial and postcolonial forestry policies affected the landscape. It is argued that non-participatory, “top-down” government programs disempowered Malawi's peoples and allowed the environment to degrade. The Blantyre Fuelwood Project shows how the politics of land use predicate environmental change. It is argued that government implemented, “top-down” approaches failed because they did not integrate local communities. The result has been local opposition to government programs, passive resistance, and deteriorating environmental conditions. The article critiques Malawi's forestry policies since colonial times, analyzes the political ecology of the Blantyre Fuelwood Project, and concludes with the hope that newly implemented “bottom-up” programs that incorporate local communities will make Malawi's environment more sustainable.