Maputo, Mozambique, 12 Jan – Requests for logging licenses in Mozambique rose by over 50 percent in 2006, rising from 462 in 2005 to 790 last year, according to Mozambican daily newspaper, Notícias.
Henrique Cruz, head of the Forest Department of the National Directorate for Land and Forests, cited by the paper, said that the overall trend in previous years has been for the number of requests to fall but, due to the big demand for wooden logs, there had been an increase in operators of that type.
Licenses are valid for a year and their holders can cut trees of up to 500 cubic meters.
The growth in number of operators did not mean, according to Cruz, that there had been a rise in internal processing of wood, or factory jobs or even growth in the national industry.
Recently the government decided to reclassify four species of tree – known locally as mondzo, pau-ferro, muanga and chanate – making them 1st class tree species, whose export is only permitted after processing.
Cruz said that this measure aimed to reduce pressure on forest resources as well as to encourage the national wood industry in order to create jobs.
According to Cruz the government had also been focusing on granting concessions, with the aim of promoting rational use of resources and creating conditions to benefit local communities, namely setting up local processing industries.
Cruz said that this approach had had positive results as it dealt with the issue in the long term (fifty years).
So far, a total of 114 concessions have been granted, located in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Zambézia, Nampula and Sofala. The other provinces with concessions,, of a reduced number, are Tete and Manica. (macauhub)