Forests and the forestry sector
In Angola, land considered forested covers about 53 million hectares (35 percent of the country¿s total land area). However, the area of forests considered economically productive is estimated at 2 373 000 ha (2 percent of the country¿s area), with an annual felling capacity of 326 000 m3.
Moreover, Angola has one of the largest areas of planted forest in Africa, composed for the most part of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp. - 85 percent), pine (Pinus spp.) and, to a lesser extent, cypress (Cupressus spp.). Most of the plantations belong to private enterprises (mainly the Railways and the Cellulose Company), while the remainder are State property, managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Almost all these plantations are in a state of abandonment and degradation as a result of burning, felling for fuelwood and charcoal production, pest and disease problems, and soil degradation.
Unfortunately the war paralysed most forestry activities, and current roundwood and sawnwood production is less than 10 percent of that recorded in 1975. Until 1991 almost all the wood production companies belonged to the State, but about 50 percent are now in private hands. Almost the whole rural population and a large proportion of the urban population (about 80 percent) use wood and charcoal as their main source of domestic energy, consuming an annual total of about 6 million cubic metres of wood. Wooded areas near the towns, especially in the coastal zone, are in a very advanced state of degradation.
The end of the civil war opened up prospects of wider cooperation in the following key areas:
- evaluation of the negative impact of the war on forests and the environment;
- resumption of rehabilitation programmes that FAO had to suspend because of the war;
- implementation of support programmes for food security and the reintegration of demobilized combatants;
- consolidation of institutions in charge of the forestry sector and the updating of forestry policies and legislation;
- forestry training and extension work;
- support to forestry institutions for the development and introduction of participatory forestry models;
- building of the management and field capacities of the Forest Development Institute.