As my plane lands in Maputo, I am welcomed home by blankets of turquoise waters edged in creamy ribbons of sand, and swaths of greens in every shade, from scrubby mangroves to unique coastal forests endemic to Maputaland. But I also see rapidly sprawling human settlements and degraded areas where forests once flourished.
Can a shift towards a sustainable forestry ecosystem help to deliver the jobs and diversity that Angola’s economy needs?
The timber industry offers enormous developmental potential. According to the Centre for International Forestry Research, domestic wood or community logging markets in Sub-Saharan Africa (as opposed to large-scale commercial felling) employ hundreds of thousands of people. It is an industry that provides employment and wages for entire communities and that has huge socio-economic and environmental importance.