Protection of biodiversity in the Natural Reserve of Gilé

The National Reserve of Gilé, one of the first protected areas of Mozambique, was established in 1932 and it covers 2100 km2 between the districts of Gilé and Pebane, in the eastern part of the province of Zambezia. Due to the indiscriminate exploitation of its resources, of some traditional practices (such as the use of fire) and poor management by the competent authorities, the reserve is now rapidly declining. The area, only officially protected, has an urgent need of actions to safeguard biodiversity.

The project “Community Management and Conservation of Natural Resources in the districts of Gilé and Pebane – Zambezia” was created to develop and promote a correct and sustainable use of natural resources, especially in the poorest and disadvantaged rural areas, and it sees the involvement of local communities in the development of real decision-making processes for the conservation of biodiversity.

In the Buffer Zone, located between an area totally lacking of regulation on natural resources management (outside the reserve) and an area where access to resources is prohibited (within the Reserve) environmental studies have been developed, specific training courses organized, sustainable economic activities activated and campaigns have been run.

Rangers and staff of the Department of Tourism (DPTZ) and the Reserve have been involved in courses on sustainable management, communities approached new techniques for biodiversity preservation and conservation agriculture, local farmers launched 120 experimental agricultural sites and professionals groups were born for sustainable fisheries, bee-keeping, carpentry and the reduction of man-animal conflict. Moreover, from awareness campaigns a program of exchange of instruments used for illegal hunting with farming tools has raised .. from old lance now fields of peppers, cabbage, onions and tomatoes are growing.