Mozambique loses over 260,000 hectares of forests each year

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MAPUTO, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Mozambique is taking action to protect its forests as the southern African country loses about 267,000 hectares of forests every year, a senior official said on Friday.

It poses a concern as these forest areas could be utilized for the utilization of non-timber forest products, such as medicinal plants, which have the potential to generate significant income, said Claudio Afonso, national director of forestry at Mozambique's Ministry of Land and Environment.

"We are facing some concerns because we lose about 267,000 hectares of forests annually," he told journalists in the capital of Maputo during a meeting on protecting the Miombo woodland, a two-day event that closed on Friday. The event was attended by national forest directors of 11 countries in southern Africa.

The Miombo woodland is the most extensive tropical seasonal woodland and dry forest formation in Africa, covering substantial portions of southern and central Africa, including Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Miombo woodland in Mozambique covers the provinces of Manica, Tete, Sofala and Zambezia in the central region, as well as Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado in the north of the country.

To protect the forests, Mozambique has already managed to raise about 17 million U.S. dollars, out of a total of approximately 30 million dollars needed to implement the established action plan, which will last for two years.

Over the past 15 years, the country has lost about four million hectares of forest due to unregulated logging and other human actions, according to forestry sector experts, who said the provinces of Nampula, Manica and Sofala have witnessed the highest rates of deforestation. Enditem

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