Managing the Miombo Woodlands of Southern Africa: Policies, Incentives, and Options for the Rural Poor

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The miombo woodlands cover 2.4 million km2 in Southern Africa, stretching from Angola to Mozambique. They are the most extensive tropical seasonal woodland and dry forest in Africa. Because they cover such a large area, the miombo woodlands hold large amounts of carbon. And although they are less diverse than moist tropical forests, they are home to elephant, rhino, and other animals and to thousands of species of plants, a high proportion of which are endemic. But just as important, for around 100 million residents the woodlands offer resources such as firewood, building material, wild foods, medicine, and fertilizer and places for grazing and beekeeping.

For the poorest of these residents, these multiple resources are a safety net, providing the necessities of life. Many factors hamper the woodlands’ management: the technical complexity of providing for multiple uses, the economics of low margins and weak markets, irrelevant institutions, and poorly crafted policies and laws.

In 2007-2008, PROFOR supported a study on the miombo woodlands, exploring policies, incentives and options for the rural poor. The ongoing public debate about the value of forests and woodlands in the face of climate change provides an important opportunity to revisit policies, incentives and options for managing the miombo woodlands in ways which benefit the rural poor in the context of a changing climate, growing food insecurity, and increasing demand for woodfuel and charcoal. An updated, peer reviewed version of this study (available as a PDF on this page) will be launched on December 1, 2011 in Durban, South Africa at the Dry Forests Symposium organized by CIFOR and sponsored by Norway, the European Union and PROFOR.

Ths study identied four necessary components of reform:  

  • Policies and institutions must embrace decentralization and devolution.
  • To encourage good management, governments must foster markets for the local products and services that good management can produce.
  • Forestry organizations must switch their emphasis from regulation of use to delivery of services, empowering local people to become better woodland users and managers.
  • Planners must keep in mind the cost of deforestation and degradation to rural populations.

The PDF includes the following seven annexes:

Household Studies
Annex 1: Supplementing or Sustaining Livelihoods? The Role of Forest Products in Household Livelihoods in Mufulira and Kabompo districts of Zambia (M. Mutamba)
Annex 2: Socio-economics of Miombo Woodland Resource Use: A Household Level Study in Mozambique (R. Hegde and G. Bull)
Annex 3: Poverty, Environmental Income, and Rural Inequality: A Case Study from Zimbabwe. (W. Cavendish and B.M. Campbell)

National-level Assessments

Annex 4: Contribution of Dry Forests to Rural Livelihoods and the National Economy in Zambia. (C.B.L. Jumbe, S.M. Bwalya, and M. Husselman)
Annex 5:  Toward community-based forest management of miombo woodlands in Mozambique (A. Salomão and F. Matose)

Technical and Policy Options
Annex 6: Silviculture and Management of Miombo Woodlands for Products in Support of Local Livelihoods (C.M. Shackleton and J.M. Clarke)
Annex 7: Improving Policy Outcomes for the Management of Miombo Woodlands (P.G. Abbot and A. Ogle)

URL Address
Program on Forests (Peter A. Dewees, Bruce M. Campbell, Yemi Katerere, Almeida Sitoe, Anthony B. Cunningham, Arild Angelsen, and Sven Wunder)

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Date CreatedThursday, January 12, 2012 3:51 PM
Date ModifiedWednesday, January 18, 2012 10:04 AM
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