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The United Nation’s Program for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) aims to reduce the 20% contribution to global emissions of greenhouse gases from the forest sector, offering a financial value of the carbon stored in forests as an incentive for local communities. The pre-requisite for the setup of a participatory REDD + Program is the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of baseline carbon stocks and their changes over time. In this study, we investigated miombo woodland’s dynamics in terms of composition, structure and biomass over a 4-year period (2005–2009), and the Carbon Stock Density (CSD) for the year 2009. The study was conducted in the Niassa National Reserve (NNR) in northern Mozambique, which is the 14th largest protected area in the world.


Mean tree density distributed across 79 species increased slightly between 2005 and 2009, respectively, from 548 to 587 trees ha-1. Julbernardia globiflora (Benth.) was the most important species in this area [importance value index (IVI2005= 61 and IVI2009 = 54)]. The woodlands presented an inverted J-shaped diametric curve, with 69% of the individuals representing the young cohort. Woody biomass had a net increase of 3 Mg ha-1 with the highest growth observed in Dyplorhynchus condilocarpon (Müll.Arg.) Pichon (0.54 Mg ha-1). J. globiflora had a net decrease in biomass of 0.09 Mg ha-1. Total CSD density was estimated at ca. 67 MgC ha-1 ± 24.85 with soils (average 34.72 ± 17.93 MgC ha-1) and woody vegetation (average 29.8 MgC ha-1 ± 13.07) representing the major carbon pools. The results point to a relatively stable ecosystem, but they call for the need to refocus management activities.


The miombo woodlands in NNR are representative of the woodlands in the eco-region in terms of vegetation structure and composition. They experienced net increase in woody biomass, a considerable recruitment level and low mortality. According to our results, NNR may present good potential for carbon sequestration especially in soils and woody biomass, representing an important potential carbon sink. However, further investigations are needed in order to address the contribution of this area to MRV REDD + initiatives.

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