Angola loses 1,600 sq. km of forest every year

18 November 2013

Angola annually loses 1,600 square kilometres of forest due to burning, shifting cultivation agriculture and tree-cutting for charcoal or wood, says Mateus André, director of the forestry department of the Forestry Development Institute.

Despite the size of the forest area lost annually, André said the situation was not a cause for concern, compared to other countries and given the extent of Angola’s forests. He also guaranteed that efforts are made to replace trees after cutting.

In comments to Angop news agency regarding the country’s first forest inventory, André highlighted “anarchic” burning as the biggest cause of deforestation.

Burning most frequently takes place in savannah forests, while tropical forests such as the one in Maiombe, Cabinda, are better preserved, with supervised exploitation serving to control deforestation.

Completion of the first National Forest Inventory should enable better control of deforestation and help expand replacement activities, he said, adding that one government replacement programme envisages planting trees in an area of 5 million hectares (50,000 sq. km).

“The programme has been drawn up and beneficiary areas determined; to begin we only need the financial resources,” André said.

He explained that the country’s first forest inventory should be launched in 2014, when the Forestry Development Institute has gathered part of the necessary information about green areas in Angola’s 18 provinces. (macauhub)