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The area of forest felled in Mozambique in 2018 grew by 6.7% compared to the previous year, according to the most recent data on deforestation in the country, published by the National Statistics Institute (INE) and consulted today by Lusa.
“In 2018, data show that more than 93,000 hectares suffered deforestation, representing an increase of 6.7% compared to 2017,” the Basic Indicators of Environmental Statistics report made available on the INE website last week reads.
The INE bulletin also indicates the impact of the loss of vegetation on the capture of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Environmental data show that in 2018 more than 15 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were emitted as a result of deforestation,” the publication states. This “represents an increase of 4.4% compared to 2017”.
“Chanato wood is the most sought-after species in the last three years of the series under analysis (2018-2020), while Umbila was predominant between 2016 and 2017,” the report details.
In 2020, Chanato (Colophospermum mopan) represented 29.2% of the total number of trees cut, followed by Umbila (Pterocarpus angolensis) with 27%. Both are species which predominate in Tete and Zambézia provinces, in central Mozambique.
The compilation of indicators released by INE was based on the collection and processing of databases and administrative reports made available by different sectors that deal with matters related to the environment, the institution explains.
The disappearance of vegetation cover is also the focus of another study released this month, entitled “Assessing the Readiness for Green Growth in Africa”, by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Institute for Green Growth (IGCV).
According to the document, Mozambican forests, which cover more than half of the country’s territory, are disappearing at a rate of 220,000 hectares per year, with deforestation representing 80% of the country’s gas emissions.
In 2020, the Mozambican government announced a two-year suspension of logging licence issuing, as a way of reducing the “pressure” on the country’s forests.
Several national and international reports have indicated that Mozambique is being the scene of environmental crimes, especially with regard to illegal felling of trees.
Others warn of the consequences of high levels of deforestation on the atmospheric balance, to which, in the context of climate change, the country may be especially sensitive.
According to the United Nations, between 2016 and 2021, the country faced two major droughts and eight tropical storms, including major cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which hit the country in one six-week period in 2019, affecting 2.5 million people.
According to the Inform global disaster risk assessment tool, Mozambique ranks 9th out of 191 countries in terms of vulnerability to hazards, exposure to risks and lack of responsiveness.