MAPUTO– The Mozambican Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development has completely banned the felling of three species of hardwoods, and barred the export of a further three.

The Ministry’s directive states that, beginning March 29, no wood at all may be cut from the species Pterocarpus tinctorius (known as Nkula), Swartzia madagascariensis (ironwood) and Combretum imberbe (Mondzo), media reports say.

The hardwoods known as chanfuta (azfelia quanzensis), umbila (pterocarpus abgolensis) and jambire (millettia stuhlmannii, sometimes known as partridge wood) may only be used to supply the domestic timber market, and may not be exported.

Under the new rules, the export of wood from any native species of tree will only be allowed for operators certified by the Ministry, whi added that certification would only be granted to companies which presented an annual plan of exports, and which complied with established criteria for setting up timber industries.

The latest national forestry inventory noted a decline in unbila, jambire, ironwood and mondzo. The situation with Nkula may be critical, since the inventory did not find commercial volumes of this species.

For this year, the ministry has determined that the maximum amount of wood that can be exploited is 350,000 cubic metres, or less than 60 per cent of the 600,000 cubic metres requested by timber companies at the end of the first quarter.

Bearing these limits in mind, the Ministry said it would only license operators after an inspection of their equipment and of the potential of the areas where they plan logging operations.

As for exports, the new regulations fix a maximum this year of 436,000 cubic metres of sawn timber, and semi-finished and finished products. There is already a ban in place on the export of logs. The volume of exports is greater than the volume of wood than can be exploited, because of the existing stockpiles of timber.