Updated at 22/04/2022
Mozambique has a remarkable abundance of natural resources and biodiversity that are vital pillars for the country’s development. The Mozambican population depends on biodiversity and ecosystem services for their livelihoods and depends on these resources to ensure their social, environmental, and economic well-being. However, continued over-exploitation of biodiversity and habitat loss, accelerated by shifting agriculture, pollution, along with the introduction of exotic species and the effects of climate change has led to degradation of the country’s unique species and ecosystems.
Mozambique has a rich flora with over 6000 plant species, of which, over 300 plant species are on the IUCN Redlist and 22% are endemic, a terrestrial fauna with 726 bird species, 171 reptile species, 85 amphibian species (of which 28 are endemic) and 3075 insect species.
By 2021, 29 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) have been identified and delineated, covering a total area of about 139,947.05 km2 with 25 (86%) covering an area of 134,019.16 km2 on land and 4 (14%) covering 5,927.89 km2 in the marine environment. The terrestrial KBAs covers 17% of Mozambique’s continental territory and the maritime 1% of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (ZEE).
- A total of 67 species of fauna assessed, 47% of which are at risk of extinction, and conservation initiatives are needed to reverse this trend;
- Mapping Mozambique’s historical ecosystems, including a first exercise to carry out a RedList assessment of terrestrial ecosystems;
- Government is integrating KBAs in its National Territorial Development Plan, as well as its Marine Spatial Plan, as areas to be preserved;
- Guidelines on “Business and KBAs: Managing Biodiversity Risks”, translated into Portuguese. These identify good environmental practices that development projects should follow when implemented in or around KBAs.
The coastline is about 2770 km long and is characterized by a diversity of habitats including sandy beaches, coastal dunes, estuaries, bays, terrestrial forests, mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.
The forest ecosystems consisting of native forests and woodlands cover about 43% of the total area of Mozambique, of which 67% are semi-deciduous forests, 20% evergreen forests, mangrove forests account for about 1% and other forest types make up 12% of forest habitats.
New terrestrial and marine species continue to be discovered in Mozambique, with a focus on bats, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, slugs, and macroalgae.