DOI: 10.3390/f15010078 ISSN: 1999-4907

Assessing the Impact of Charcoal Production on Southern Angolan Miombo and Mopane Woodlands

Raquel Kissanga, Luís Catarino, Cristina Máguas, Ana I. R. Cabral, Sergio Chozas
  • Forestry

About 80% of Angola’s forest surface is covered by Miombo and Mopane woodlands, which are explored for diverse activities such as fuelwood and food. This study aimed to assess the recovery dynamics of Miombo and Mopane woodlands after the selective cutting of tree species for charcoal production. For that, the structure and composition of plant communities in 37 plots, located in southwestern Angola, were characterized in fallows of different ages. Results showed that the diameter at breast height, basal area, biomass, and biovolume of trees all rose as the age of the fallow increased, and there were no significant differences in richness, diversity, or dominance of trees between adult–young classes or recent–older fallows. In Mopane, fallows took longer to regenerate, were more affected by environmental and anthropogenic factors, and also presented a higher species adaptation to disturbance. There were more sprouter and seeder trees in Miombo, and new kilns were more distant from roads and villages. Moreover, the selective removal of species deeply altered the community structure and dynamics, despite not directly affecting tree diversity. Thus, new management strategies are needed to ensure the survival of these woodlands such as expanding protected areas and increasing systematic research.

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