Ministry of Tourism hosts Open Standards Conservation Planning Workshop for the Primeiras & Segundas Environmental Protected Area (PSEPA)
The National Administration of Conservation Areas of Mozambique´s Ministry of Tourism brought together more than 35 individuals representing over 20 stakeholder institutions last week for a four-day Open Standards Conservation Planning workshop in Angoche for the Primeiras & Segundas Environmental Protected Area (PSEPA). Following the declaration of the Primeiras & Segundas Archipelago as an Environmental Protected Area in November last year, the workshop served as a critical next step in the participatory development process of the area’s Management Plan.
Facilitated by Anita Diederichsen and Gustavo Gatti, representatives of The Nature Conservancy, participants discussed and analyzed the area and its resources from a variety of perspectives with the goal of building a common understanding of and identifying potential strategies for PSEPA management.
Participants represented a wide stakeholder base, including representatives of four government ministries (Tourism, Environment, Agriculture, Fisheries) at district, provincial and national levels, leadership of three district fishing associations, and local fisherman representing private sector fish-processing companies.
The workshop was a special moment for me as I have been accompanying the declaration process since 2005. We appropriated the reserve area as our own, and through the process, we were able to put forth what we would like to see prioritized. The process was not top-down, but participatory at all levels: local community, provincial, national and international-
Miguel Massunda, Director of SDAE (District Services for Economic Activities), District Government, Angoche
Responding to the Commons Dilemma: Integrating Natural Resource Management and Disaster Risk Reduction in P&S Environmental Protection Area
In the estuary community of Mucocoma, Catamoio, about 25 minutes by boat from Angoche, stretches a muddy, barren landscape, dotted with remnant stumps of a mangrove forest. According to local leaders, the area allegedly served as a hiding ground for bandits who were breaking into and stealing from residents’ homes. In response, a local picked up his axe in 1974, clearing the area to ‘bring security back to the community.’
Yet unbeknownst to him, this good Samaritan merely traded one insecurity for another. In succeeding in chasing off the thieves, the community lost the protection and defense that this area of mangroves provided against tropical storms, increasing its vulnerability to disasters. Located directly in the cyclone belt, Catamoio has suffered its share of damages, such as those caused by cyclone Jokwe which hit Catamoio in 2008. Read more…
By Lily Jamison-Cash, Monitoring & Evaluation and Communications (MEC) Intern, P&S Program
Raging wildfires are slowly becoming a part of the past as the P&S Program ends its third season of controlled burning this week in Potone Sacred Forest. The Program has been working with residents of Potone since 2011 to build their capacity in this management technique, increasing the forest’s health as well as the benefits it provides to residents.
P&S created a Fire Management Action Plan with residents in 2011 in order to address destructive wildfire resulting (predominantly) from farmers burning their fields to clear them. P&S works with Potone residents to begin burning sometime between May and August, depending on the year’s rainfall, when the fuel load is still relatively low, the grass still partially green, and the weather cool.
Early burning minimizes the potential for and scale of late hot wildfires, usually around October. Hot fires reduce biodiversity and change the physiognomy of the forest to favor low-diversity grass-dominated landscapes over high-diversity tree-dominated landscapes. P&S works with Community Rangers, the Angoche Fire Department, and members of the local NRM (Natural Resource Management) Committees to conduct the burnings.
These early burnings come after years of damage wrought by wildfires. “In 2005, the hot fires spread to the other district and destroyed many houses and fields,” said Gaetano Chico, a firefighter on the burning team. In fact, hot burnings reached such a peak in 2009 as to affect cashew production in Nampula Province.
Though it still involves burning vegetation, early intervention has a plethora of advantages.
When the fuel load is burnt off early and periodically, the forest as a whole is less susceptible to dangerous wildfires later in the season, as there is less fuel to catch fire. “It prevents big fires,” said Gostantino Mosanga Mohivel, a member of Namizope’s NRM Committee.
By limiting the potential for large wildfires, early burning also limits the damage done to wildlife. “The animals have a habitat now,” said Manuel Matias Canivela, a Community Ranger on the team conducting burnings. Early mosaic burning has an immediate positive effect on the diversity and abundance of small animals (such as insects, reptiles and birds), and over time on the abundance of grazers and herbivores. The herbaceous layer, which is rich in medicinal plants, also fares better under an early burning regime.
Early burning does not destroy tree saplings or grass shoots, which can more easily recover from the stress of fire. “The grass is green now, which it’s not after hot burning,” Mohivel said. Early burning also facilitates carbon sequestration by preserving large vegetation and encouraging tree-dominated landscapes, and releases less carbon than large wildfires do.
Hot fires also harden the soil, which becomes impermeable and increases water runoff. This lowers the soil’s water retention and nutrition, making the next growing season even more difficult. Controlled fires, on the other hand, don’t burn as deep, which is crucial for crop health and future growing seasons. “The soil stays productive,” said Ainsha Aosufo, a member of Namizope’s NRM Committee participating in the burnings.
Early burning is proving to be a popular conservation tool for people of Potone Sacred Forest. “Early burning is an alternative, because people still want to burn,” said P&S Program Terrestrial Natural Resource Management Officer Marcos Assane, who leads the early burning campaigns.
The difficulty in the process lies in people taking ownership of it, Assane said: “you can’t say ‘now you have the knowledge, go do it.’” P&S has trained residents and will work with them to use this technique for some time to come, as the NRM Committees’ leadership continues to grow and the benefits of early burning become more and more apparent.
Residents of Potone have given positive feedback on early burning and say they plan to continue to use it. “We are very happy with this process,” Mohivel said, explaining that the soil’s increased productivity has helped farmers turn a greater profit. “The maintenance of natural resources for our own benefit is very important,” he added.
Other residents agree that early burning is taking hold. “Other people in the village are happy with the process because early burning gives more advantages [over hot burning],” Aosufo said. Farmers can stay on their lands, as their fields, forest, and food stay healthy.
Check out this video to take a closer look at early burning and hear NRM Team Member Jean-Baptiste Deffontaines interview Community Ranger Assanito Mateus.
Ensia, a magazine which focuses on the intersection of environmental and other global issues, recently mentioned the P&S Program in an article on approaches to biodiversity conservation. Hillary Rosner’s article uses P&S as an example of integrated conservation and development in action:
Including sustainable development as a core conservation goal, and looking for all possible tools to achieve it, is another emerging area of common ground where future solutions certainly lie. One WWF project in Mozambique, for instance, marries conservation and human development through a partnership with the people-focused group CARE to promote local management of fisheries.
The Program also received a shoutout in one of Ensia’s “Notables” for our work in improving resilience with environmental conservation. It highlights the expanded livelihoods options that P&S has been working to create, specifically in fishing and farming.
Journalists investigate climate change adaptation, look to the CARE-WWF Alliance program in Angoche district
By Lily Jamison-Cash, MEC Intern, P&S Program with P&S partners Dercio Dauto and Jeremias Marques
The Primeiras & Segundas Program hosted two journalists this month as they explored how local people living in the Primeiras e Segundas Environmental Protected Area respond and adapt to climate change. Journalist Susanne Sayers and photographer Søren Rud heard stories from people across Mozambique, including from the village of Sinhanhe and the island community of Quelelene.
Sayers, based in Denmark, said she had a longstanding interest in reporting on climate change; when CARE Mozambique recently visited Denmark, she saw an opportunity. “The Danish media is not interested in everything, but we think [climate change] is the most important thing in the world,” Sayers said. Read more…