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BATS: Biodiversity Analysis and Technical Support
STEWARD program
African Leadership Seminar
Namibia Latin American and the Caribbean Asia Pacific Middle East Russia, Europe a Senegal Mali Guinea Liberia Ghana Nigeria Gulf of Guinea: Cameroon, Equitorial Guinea, Gabon Congo Basin Virunga Mountains Burundi Ethiopia Kenya Tanzania Zambezi: Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique Mozambique Madagascar Mauritius South Africa

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Sierra Leone | South Africa | Tanzania | Virunga Mountains | Zambezi | African Leadership Seminar

The Okavango River arises in the highlands of the Kuando Kubango Province of Angola, and never reaches the sea. Instead, the waters of the Okavango empty over the sands of the Kalahari Desert, creating a unique environment and refuge for fauna and flora in the midst of the Kalahari.

US Forest Service has been working with the Angolan Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s National Institute for Forestry Development since 2006 to develop capacity for sustainable use of forest resources in the Kuando Kubango Province. This effort was initiated in response to issues identified in a 2006 USFS preliminary forest assessment of the state of forest resources in the Kuando Kubango Province. Building on this assessment, the USFS and other partners implemented an in-depth training activity for Angolan Foresters in March 2007. US Forest Service will assist the Namibian Forest Department in conducting community-based fire management training for Namibian and Angolan participants in August 2008. Other future activities will include developing additional forest management training capacity to support additional forest inventories and sustainable harvesting activities. USFS technical assistance in Angola is supported by USAID’s Southern Africa Program through the Okavango Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) Project.

Results of 2006 Assessment
The 2006 USFS-led assessment identified three principal priorities for potential USFS assistance to the Angolan National Institute for Forestry Development (IDF). The first priority is the need for forest vegetation identification and inventory to determine the general state of Angola ’s forests and species diversity in order to complete a forest assessment to be used in the preparation of a land management plan. Secondly, there is a need for capacity building within IDF’s main office as well as in the Kuando Kubango province for foresters, inspectors and enforcement officers, as well as in resource staff (soils, ecology, etc.). Thirdly, there is a need for addressing threats to biodiversity and sustainable multiple-use management; these threats include uncontrolled burning for agriculture and hunting and extensive use of trees for firewood and charcoal production.

As a result of the assessment, the USFS team recommended the following specific activities for future USFS support:

  • Tree species identification and growth characteristics
  • Geographic Information System utilization and interpretation
  • Forest inventory, protocol and methodology
  • Forest and Land Management Planning Process
  • Fire Prevention and Community Awareness
  • Law Enforcement Training

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March 2007 Training Activity
The 2006 USFS visit to Angola recommended a series of activities in order to build the IDF’s capacity for carrying out a forest assessment and for using the assessment to develop a land management plan in order to provide sustainable forest use and economic development, and to reduce impacts on biodiversity. To begin this effort, USFS collaborated with IRBM staff to design a field-based training activity with the following objectives:

  • To develop skills of Angolan foresters in Kuando Kubango and of select Mucusso community members in tree species identification, growth and use characteristics.
  • To prepare Angolan foresters and select Mucusso community members to conduct basic ground inventories of trees, and to raise awareness about the relationship between data and management planning.
  • To prepare Angolan wildlife officers in Kuando Kubango and select Mucusso community members to monitor large mammals.

The training was carried out at the Frans Dimare Youth Centre, in Divundu, Namibia, with field work carried out in various nearby locations, including Mahango Game Reserve, and Buffalo Camp Game Reserve. The training was delivered in three languages, English, Portuguese and Mbukushu. Attendance at the training consisted of about 50 total people, including trainers. The training activity was successful in completing these objectives.

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August 2008 Fire Management Training
The August 2008 Fire Management Training will be conducted by a team of Namibian Forest Department and US Forest Service technical experts in Rundu, Namibia. This training targets community members from Namibia and Angola. Course topics will include: causes of forest fire, fire ecology, fire chemistry, fire behavior, effects of weather, fuel loads identification and assessment, fire as a management tool, fire fighting crews, general fire management strategies, fire control, fire prevention, fire suppression, cutline construction and maintenance, and fire fighting equipment and use

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Next Steps
Recommendations for further US-Forest Service involvement in Angola :

  • Plan and implement a land management planning workshop, with a first-rate planner who can simplify things and has experience working in the third world. This should focus at the national and regional level, with subsequent local workshops to ensure public participation. If there is interest in focusing the effort on the Coutada de Mucusso, this should be done after the vegetation map is complete and probably after the six-month inventory period is up as well.
  • Provide aid in designing and implementing a national forest inventory system. Protocols from neighboring nations, such as Namibia, should be adopted if possible.
  • There is a real need for training in scientific silviculture and sustainable forestry. The USFS could engage directly with IDF to provide technical assistance in this area.
  • The Angolans suffer from an acute lack of access to scientific information. This is due to the general lack of electronic media, libraries, and English skills among most government personnel. It would be very valuable to find a way to provide Portuguese translations of recent research results to key contacts in Angola (especially regarding key tree species’ growth rates, ecology, etc.).

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Partners and Relevant Websites
Okavango Integrated River Basin Management Project:

USFS Angola Reports on FRAME:

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