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Maputaland Biodiversity Assessment

Threats and opportunities

Our 'threats and opportunities of biodiversity in Maputaland' research program aims to inform decisions on conservation, wildlife management, and restoration without impinging on the livelihoods of people. People in southern Mozambique live mostly off the land and share resources with wildlife. This may create conflict between people, wildlife, and natural resources. The program is therefore designed to conduct ecological
research on forests of Maputaland and provide information on how different policies may influence the integrity of forest habitats in this region. Maputaland in southern Mozambique forms part of a regional centre of species endemism and is known worldwide for its diverse landscapes and species richness.

We use forests in Maputaland as a platform from which we describe the response of plants and animals to landscape conditions. The forests in Maputaland are fragmented, and this allows us to use principles of Island Biogeography and metapopulation dynamics to test existing ecological theory. We describe the spatial and temporal dynamics of the forest fragments in line with landscape ecological themes. Attributes such as landscape classification and fragment dynamics are based on recent developments in remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems. The taxa that we study include the large and small mammals, trees, birds and dung beetles that live in these forests. We describe species assemblages and structure against the spatial and temporal attributes of the forest fragments.

CERU also provides opportunities for post-graduate research on the relevant topics under this banner and links up with stakeholders in Mozambique to build capacity in the implementation and application of the management in this unique landscape. Read recent publications and reports relevant to this initiative.