Mozambique — Uncontrolled bush fires destroyed 18,387 hectares of forest in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado in 2009.
According to a balance sheet on the 2009 Economic and Social Plan in that province, the fires were particularly serious in the districts of Montepuez, Chiure, Macomia, Mueda, and Nangade.
The report says 1,000 cashew trees were lost in Nangade, and three people have been punished in connection with those burnings, but the document does not specify the type of punishment they received.
“To try to mitigate this problem, the authorities have been carrying out awareness campaigns within the communities telling them about the danger and consequences of uncontrolled fires. The authorities are also introducing beekeeping programmes in areas where the phenomenon is most felt”, reads the document.
The areas affected by the fires are far larger than those covered by the main reforestation programmes in the province. The “Community Forests” programme covered just 190 hectares, where 15 forests were created, in 10 districts.
Initiatives, based on the planting of local species of precious hardwoods, such as ironwood, jambire and umbila, and fruit trees, covered 330 hectares.
To add to the effects of the uncontrolled fires, Cabo Delgado lost a total of 10,255 hectares of crops due to a number of factors, including shortage of water (particularly for the planting of rice), floods, and attacks by wild animals.
To try and solve the problem of wild animals, the provincial authorities provided for the opening of fields in blocks, to make it easier to control the animals. They also trained 45 community hunters, and distributed 26 guns and 440 rounds of ammunition, allocated in the most critical areas.
The report says that it was thus possible to kill 62 “problem” animals, including 35 elephants, five hippopotamus, four lions, five crocodiles, two buffaloes, and nine foxes.