Deforestation and forest degradation are among the main problems in Mozambique. This problem affects also in the District of Mocubela, in Zambezia, where we work with the FORESTE and ECO-ILHAS projects. In fact, itinerant agriculture and the excessive exploitation of forest resources (including timber) in a non-sustainable way, together with uncontrolled forest fires, significantly reduce the availability of forest ecosystem goods and services in rural communities. Furthermore, the problem of deforestation strongly threatens biodiversity and causes an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
So what can we do to support rural communities and protect the environment in a more effective way?
Giovanna Fotia, our Project Leader in Mozambique, tells us more:
“As part of the FORESTE project, we fight deforestation thanks to the creation of productive forests with the Agro-Forestry System (SAF) methodology, which promotes resilience and producers’ adaptation to the effects of climate change. Moreover, thanks to the availability of native forest plants in our main nursery and in the community nurseries of the beneficiaries of the project, we were able to proceed with the reforestation of particularly degraded areas of the District of Mocubela, thus helping to promote the conservation of biodiversity and the mitigation of climate change”.
The typical forest ecosystem in this area is the miombo: the largest dry forest ecosystem in all of Africa (2.7 million square km), an immense natural heritage and also a very important source of food, medicinal plants, building materials and energy for a population that, on a global scale, reaches over forty million people *.
In order to effectively promote a greater environmental awareness among local communities, we do not just work with the population that lives directly in degraded forest areas, but we also aim at raising awareness on this topic to the entire community through radio messages and public events. Furthermore, we also work with schools, so that children can participate directly in reforestation activities.
Working with schools is essential because it ensures that boys and girls acquire greater awareness of their role and the contribution that each one of us can (and must!) make to ensure greater environmental protection.
“Involving youth in these activities allows them to live a very rewarding and constructive experience. And it’s definitely fun for them to help us planting new trees! In fact, this is a simple but important gesture that can really strengthen the sense of belonging to the community and that allows them not only to contribute to the implementation of a reforestation program, but also to develop an awareness of their role and contribution to safeguarding the environment. It is for them a stimulus to start to commit more to improve the the safeguard of the splendid nature that surrounds them!”.
“Il miombo, l’ecosistema dimenticato in cui vivono quaranta milioni di persone“, Massimiliano Sanfilippo – 24.03.18, pubblicato su rivistanatura.com