Table Of ContentsNext Page

1. Introduction

Despite being the driest country in Southern Africa, Namibia nonetheless produces considerable woody biomass on its total land area of 830,000 km 2 and an estimated population of 1.6 million people. The country is divided in climatic terms as desert, arid, semi-arid and semi-humid regions. Rainfall ranges from less 50 mm at the coastal desert to 700 mm per year in the northern and northeastern semi-humid regions. In vegetation terms, deserts, savannahs and woodlands occupy 16, 20 and 64 % of the land respectively. The savannah, which is subdivided into 5 sub-classes and the woodlands, is the place where the woody biomass is to be found.

Recent woody biomass inventories in North-Eastern Namibia (Tsumkwe Region) showed that in the camelthorn savannah, the tallest trees can be 16.5 meters but the average height is about 5.8 meters with about 100.8 trees (minimum diameter of 5 cm) per hectare and a total above ground biomass of 3.2 tons per hectare. In the woodlands where dominant heights range from 13.0 to 19.0 meters, above ground biomass ranged from 12.5 to 20.6 tons per hectare (Government of Namibia, 1997a and b).

In the Bush-Encroached Savannah, population densities of bush species are usually: Acacia mellifera, Dichrostachys cinerea, A. reficiens, and Terminalia prunoides ranged from 1300 to 4600 trees per hectare. Their heights ranged from 1.2 to 3.4, meters depending on the local conditions (Cunningham 1997). In terms of charcoal production, using minimum tree diameters of 7-8 cm as a base, biomass estimates and tree densities varied expectedly with species. For example, Terminalia prunoides in the northern parts of Central Namibia in Outjo and Tsumeb carry utilisable biomass yields hectare of 12 867 kg, Colophospermum mopane, 30 192 kg. In both cases, 40% is the expected charcoal yield (Cunningham 1997).


Top Of PageNext Page