Physical Alteration and Destruction of Habitats (PADH) in Mozambique

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Major tourism impact in the physical alteration and destruction of habitats is mostly due to the tourism operation, rather than building of tourism infrastructures. The major degrading tourism activities are building in sand dunes and in mangrove swamps, and driving in coastal dunes. The major areas affected by tourism are the southern part of Mozambique, in the parabolic dune environment. Mangrove destruction is mostly due to urban expansion. There are some minor threats to mangrove due to prawn culture in the central part of the counter and due to salt production in Maputo. Dredging of the navigation channels is the activity related to the operation of the ports that causes physical changes in the environment. The Maputo and Beira ports, are constantly being dredged because of siltation. These harbours are located in estuaries. There is a threat to destruction of a natural reserve for building a harbour in Ponta Dobela, in the Southern Part of Mozambique. Sand mining occurs in the vicinity of large urban centres. The quarries are abandoned living large swamps. Erosion occurs all over the country. The major causes are related to sediment deficit in the estuaries and coastal areas due to the effect of the dams. Deforestation of sand dunes also causes erosion. The are mostly affected by erosion are Nacala, Quelinae, Chinde (Zambezi Delta), Beira, Macaneta and Maputo.

The government developed a set of sectoral and cross-sectoral legislations and Laws regulating the exploitation and use of natural resources, and protection of ecosystems and environment as a whole. On the other hand, there are several institutions dealing entirely or partially with one or more issues regarding coastal affairs. There is no single institution responsible for all the coastal affairs. There were created a number of inter-institutional committees, which include besides the government representatives, non-governmental organisations and private sectors, to address issues that transcend the mandate of single institution. There is overlapping in the legislations and in the mandate of the institutions that need to be understood and sort it out. This can be achieved through an adequate harmonization of the legislations and coordination between the institutions.

Another constraint to action is related to the lack of our understanding of the ecosystem structure and function, which could help the enforcement of the law and in the management. There is a lack of qualified personnel. Very often we do not know how most of the ecosystems function, how each intervening factor contribute to the system, and how the different factors inter-related one to another. Institutional capacity goes from the lack of infrastructures for research and monitoring to the lack of coordination among different institutions dealing with marine issues. Lack of co-ordination often leads to duplication of actions with unnecessary expenditure of resources. Sustainable exploitation of resources requires a thoroughly research and permanent monitoring, which is too expensive for a developing country. In addition to these limitations, in some cases the legislation may not easy sustainable development, particularly where there is a free access to the resources, or absence of regulation in the extent to which and/or sustainable ways of resource exploitation.

Thus, the following actions are recommended:

  • harmonization of the legislations,
  • establishment of an effective coordination mechanism between institutions
  • building capacity for research, management and surveillance.



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