The northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Niassa have the greatest mpingo stocks in Mozambique. Theodore Nagel GmBH, the major supplier of mpingo for musical instruments, has been exporting logs from Pemba for 40 years. Just as Lindi is one of the poorest areas of Tanzania so are Cabo Delgado and Niassa poor by Mozambican standards. While the Maputo corridor, 1,500km to the south, has seen considerable development since the end of the civil war, the ‘peace dividend’ for the northern provinces has been much more muted. The road journey to Maputo takes at least 3 days during the dry season and considerably longer during the rains.
Just as has happened north of the border, the poor infrastructure has up until now protected the forests to a fair degree, but road improvement projects now abound and this could change. Creation of a cross-border regional development area with a new crossing over the Ruvuma river (which separates Tanzania from Mozambique) is a vision of both governments and one broadly supported by donors. While such inwards investment would be a tremendous boon to the area it would also accelerate deforestation. The Mozambican government regards forestry as a growth area and has granted many new concessions in recent years.
The forest resources of Cabo Delgado have recently recognised with the gazetting of the new Quirimbas National Park in 2002 - designated by WWF the world’s first “people’s park” as a result of the key role played by local people in requesting the park. The park stretches a long way inland but is narrow at its most western extent, and does not reach the Niassa Game Reserve which Fauna & Flora International is helping to develop. Community managed forestry projects, using mpingo as a focus, could bridge this gap creating a wildlife corridor between the two protected areas and buffer zones around them.