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Erhaltung von Waldressourcen für Menschen und die Umwelt im Niassa Reservat in Mozambique

Project Leader
Gratzer Georg, BOKU Project Leader
Type of Research
Applied Research
BOKU Research Units
Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems
Institute of Forest Ecology
Funded by
Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung, Minoritenplatz, 1010 Wien, Austria
The miombo woodlands are the most widespread forest type in southern Africa, covering approximately 3.2 million km2 and home to 50 million people across seven countries (Angola, DR Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). Over 80% of these people are rural dwellers whose livelihoods depend on miombo for agricultural and grazing land and products including fuel wood, construction materials, traditional medicines and foods, such as wild tree fruits and mushrooms that sprout from the myccorhizal fungi associated with many of the tree species. For local communities, particularly for poorer households, miombo woodland resources account for a larger percentage of household income than subsistence agriculture (Campbell et al. 2002). In many areas, however, miombo woodland resources are threatened by clearing, grazing, illegal logging and indiscriminate fires. The loss of these resources reduces livelihood options for local populations (Campbell et al. 1996).

The Niassa National Reserve (NNR) extends over 42,000 km2, and includes one of the least disturbed areas of Africa’s deciduous miombo woodlands. It was established to protect important populations of wildlife species specific to these ecosystems and also includes populations of a number of the world’s threatened tree species. In addition, 40,000 people live in 50 settlements, scattered through the reserve, all of them living a precarious existence with incomes less than one dollar/day (Cunliffe et al. 2009). For these communities, the main livelihood strategy is subsistence rain-fed agriculture based on shifting cultivation, yet soils are poor and nutrients are quickly depleted, so production is low and new fields must be continuously created through forest clearing. Forest products are crucial to local communities, who also hunt and fish. These activities, depending on how they are managed, have the potential to negatively impact both the sustainability of harvests and biodiversity. There is a pressing need to develop management practices to ensure sustainable and improved livelihoods as well as the conservation of the biodiversity in the Niassa Reserve.

The project is designed to identify tree species important to livelihoods of human populations in the Niassa National Reserve (NNR) and to develop options for their improved management. Research will strengthen the capacity of the reserve managers to address two principal objectives: Biodiversity Conservation and Community Development.

Participatory socioeconomic and ethnoecological studies will be carried out to identify the needs, resource uses and management practices, including the use of fire, of communities. Ecological studies will be carried out on the status of priority tree species and the impact of local use and fire on them. Guidelines and options for management to improve availability and reduce negative impacts of resource use and fire will be developed through participatory processes, including community members as well as reserve managers. Lessons-learned and insights gained through the project will be relevant elsewhere in Mozambique and throughout the seven-country miombo forest zone of Africa.
forest ecology; interdisciplinary agriculture and forestry; agricultural ecology;
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