Country Profiles

Mozambique - Country Profile

Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Located on the southeastern seaboard of Africa, Mozambique possesses five phytogeographical regions with Miombo, Mopane, undifferentiated woodlands and coastal mosaics being the most common. Sites of high importance in regard to biodiversity include the Gorongosa Mountains, the Great Inselberg Archipelago of Quirimbas and the Chimanimani Massif. Three biodiversity hotspots are found in Mozambique: the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa, the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany and the Eastern Afromontane. In addition, the Zambezian Coastal Flooded Savannah is an eco-region unique to Mozambique. According to national estimates, Mozambique is home to about 5,500 species of flora and 4,271 species of terrestrial wildlife, of which 72% are insects, 17% birds, 5% mammals and 4% reptiles. Of these species, several are endemic to Mozambique, including 2 species of mammal, 7 reptiles, 11 freshwater fish and 5 vascular plant species. There are a total of 300 species on the IUCN Red List in Mozambique, of which 120 are threatened.

With a coastline 2,770 km long, Mozambique has several marine and coastal habitats, the most important of which are the coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass meadows. The coral reefs cover about 1,860 km2 and there are about 400,000 ha of mangroves. There are no species lists for individual countries however, along the Indian Ocean Coast, 11,257 marine species have been recorded and 17 marine fish are endemic to Mozambique. Notable species that have been recorded along the coasts of Mozambique include the dugong, 7 species of dolphin, humpback whales, 77 hermatypic species of coral and 5 species of turtle, all of which contribute significantly to tourism.

There are extensive benefits and ecosystem services arising from biodiversity in Mozambique which affect the entire population. These include the provision of timber for firewood, furniture, sculpture, etc., water supply/purification, soil fertility and flood protection. In addition, most of the important traditional and modern medicines within Mozambique are derived from wild plants, animals, fungi and bacteria. Medicinal plants are used by an estimated 80% of the population and the importance of the role of traditional healers is increasingly recognized. Biodiversity also provides significant benefits to Mozambique’s economy through the generation of revenue from eco-tourism.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Major threats to biodiversity are population increase, development and past political instability which have all led to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as to great changes in the number and distribution of large terrestrial mammals. During the civil war period, terrestrial fauna suffered a massive decline however, since 1992, the Government has been directing efforts towards the recovery of lost populations, especially within conservation areas.

The main threats to fauna are hunting, uncontrolled fires and the destruction of habitats, whereas the main threats to flora are vegetation clearing, slash-and-burn agriculture, increased human settlement and uncontrolled fires.

The main threats to mangrove forests are deforestation, aquaculture and construction of salt pans. Coral reefs are mainly under pressure from coral bleaching and increased activities in coral reefs (fishing, tourism, etc.). Seagrasses are being threatened by siltation due to floods, revolving of seagrass to collect invertebrates, trampling and destructive fishing techniques.

Due to population pressure, there have also been increased reports of human-animal conflicts, especially regarding crocodiles, lions, elephants and hippos, with 265 people killed and 82 people injured between 2006 and 2008, and of damage to agriculture caused by hippos and elephants.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The NBSAP was originally drafted in 1998, revised in 2002 and adopted in 2003, incorporating the 2010 global targets, indicators and national priority targets. The main goals of the NBSAP were to: fulfill the requirement of Article 6 of the CBD that appeals to countries to develop national strategies that reflect the measures defined in the Convention; identify issues that need national priority actions and immediate efforts regarding coordination; provide a basic tool that helps Government agencies and society ensure that all Government policy plans related to biological diversity are realized, especially through coordinated relevant sectoral policies, programs and strategies.

Activities on revising and updating the NBSAP have been initiated, in accordance with the provisions of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets. Mozambique recognizes the need to review the status of national biodiversity and threats in order to set national targets and integrate scientific aspects. The country also intends to integrate gender and climate change issues in the NBSAP revision, and its national biodiversity targets into local development plans.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Numerous steps towards achieving the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been made by the Government of Mozambique. Mozambique has extended the surface of protected areas from about 11% to 16% of its national territory. The creation of new national parks, namely, Quirimbas National Park, Limpopo National Park and Chimanimani National Park, and reserves, including coastal and marine environments, has significantly contributed to this. Restoration efforts for Gorongosa National Park and the establishment of new Ramsar sites have also been carried out. Measures for protecting areas, including the Marromeu complex (a new Ramsar site), and centres of endemism, such as the Maputaland and Chimanimani-Nyanga centres, have also been formulated.

Cooperative efforts between bordering countries have led to the creation of new Transfrontier Conservation Areas (Libombos, Great Limpopo and Chimanimani), and two other Transfrontier Conservation Areas (Rovuma - Mozambique/Tanzania and Zimoza - Mozambique/Zimbabwe/Zambia) are proposed. Notably, Mozambique and South Africa have also recently designated Ponta do Ouro a marine conservation area, making it Africa’s largest marine protected area.

There has also been an extension of coastal forest due to the gazettement of the Quirimbas National Park in the northern part of the country, coastal forests and Inselberg areas recognized as potential areas of specific biodiversity; an increase in the creation of wildlife utilization areas; the creation of an ethnobotany center; improved regulation of aquaculture activities in mangrove forests; a regulation on traditional medicine to help protect and promote traditional knowledge; conservation and aerial monitoring of dugong populations in the Parc Nationale de l'Archipel de Bazaruto; conservation and monitoring of sea turtles and replanting projects for the African potato (Hypoxis hemecrocalidea).

Three Centres for Sustainable Development have now been created to deal with research, implementation of projects and provide technical assistance on environmental issues at the province and district levels.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Global legal instruments for biodiversity include the CBD, CMS, Ramsar, CITES, Kyoto Protocol and CCD, whereas many pieces of national legislation at least consider biodiversity, even if it is not their overarching goal.

Funding for conservation efforts within Mozambique is obtained from a number of different sources. The World Bank and GEF have been funding tourism development and Transfrontier Conservation Areas (Limpopo, Lubombo and Chimanimani), Gorongosa National Park and marine and coastal biodiversity projects. There has also been support for various projects and national parks from foreign countries, such as the French Development Agency and USAID. In addition, the UNDP, UNEP, WWF and the Carr Foundation contribute towards capacity-building and training. The National Fund of Environment (FUNAB) has the aim of promoting environmental activities and funds education and training activities.

There have been significant efforts in cross-sectoral integration of biodiversity, largely facilitated through the Ministry for the Coordination for Environmental Action, however also considered by various other Government departments and ministries.

The Government of Mozambique has adopted the following main strategies to tackle mainstreaming in biodiversity and environment: Strategic Plan for Poverty Reduction (PARPA), New Partnership for the Development of Africa (NEPAD) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Global targets and indicators were adopted under the CBD and were used to develop the NBSAP however these national targets and indicators were numerical, making it difficult to evaluate the progress of some of the activities proposed in the NBSAP. There is a need to update the indicators found under the National Strategy for Tourism, but a lack of resources has made it difficult to implement the suggested program of work.