International Day of Forests

To celebrate the International day of Forests we present you an abundant type of woodland in Africa, especially in Southern Africa, the Miombo woodland.

The Miombo woodland is considered the largest dry ecosystem found in Southern Africa, occupying about 2.7 million Km². Miombo woodlands occupy 65% of the land in Mozambique, the majority of the northern region (Cabo Delgado, Niassa, Nampula and Zambézia) and part of the central region.

There are several types of Miombo forests recognized, based on their structure (height, diameter, number of trees, etc), as well as their species composition and degree of deciduouness. Miombo forests can have up to about 8,500 plant species, in which usually half are endemic. The dominant species of this type of forest are Branchystegia spp., Julbernardia globiflora and Isoberlinia angolensis.

Generally, the physiognomy of this type of forest is characterized by a dense vegetation cover, with deciduous or semi-deciduous trees, height between 10 and 30 m if they reach maturity and are not degraded. These types of forests are capable of developing even in poor soils.

As well as being very resilient, they also play a crucial role for rural communities, as more than 39 million of rural communities and around 15 million of urban dwellers obtain countless subsistence products from the forest such as food, fuel, construction materials, medicines and water. In addition to these products, they may also be a source of nutrients and soil fertilizers, after fires or when the leaves fall.

The word Miombo comes from Swahili and is the name of the tree that is most commonly found in this type of forest: Brachystegia.

REFERENCES:

Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for (i) the Mozambique Forest Investment Project (MozFIP), (ii) the Dedicated Grant Mechanism to Local Communities (MozDGM) and (iii) REDD+ Initiatives, Final Report, January 2017

Campbell, B. (1996), The Miombo in Transition. Woodlands and Welfare in Africa. CIFOR. Bogor, Indonesia.

Kowero, G. S (2002), Project: B7 -6201/97 -09/VIII/FOR – Management of Miombo woodlands, European Commission & CIFOR.

Natasha Ribeiro, Miombo Woodlands, Apresentação PPT, 2016