Southern Mozambique at risk of desertification

Satellite images of Mozambique show that the southern interior of the country runs serious risks of desertification.

The images were taken under Project “Desert Watch”, which is looking at the problems of desertification in Mozambique, Brazil and Portugal. The project is implemented by the European Space Agency (ESA), under the terms of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification,

“The initial conclusions are that there is a likelihood of desertification in the southern interior of Mozambique in the future, and there is information about land degradation in the northern interior in the past”, according to Nuno Duro, of the company Critical Software, which manages Desert Watch.

Speaking to AIM on Wednesday during a seminar on the economic advantages of land observation technologies, Duro displayed maps which show the southern province of Gaza and certain areas in the western province of Tete as the parts of Mozambique where the likelihood of desertification is strongest.

Duro said the research also considered historical information and indicators on the weather, soil, vegetation, and land occupation and use. The images used by Desert Watch come from MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer), an instrument carried by the earth observation satellite, Envisat.

The research has yet to be validated by the Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Action (MICOA). It is hoped that the study will allow the government to identify possible measures for combatting desertification.

During the seminar, Critical Software representatives also spoke of the advantages of earth observation technologies for managing river basins, forests and agriculture, for urban planning, and for controlling desertification and erosion.

“Critical Software is developing critical business, telecommunications, energy, and industrial systems, as well as in military areas such as aeronautics and defence”, said the company’s managing director, Rui Melo. “We are developing dual use technologies (for military and civilian purposes)”.

“We are bringing the capacity of observing the planet from space”, he added, “and we explain the importance of these technologies in comparison with manual techniques, given the size of Mozambique’s territory”.

Post published in: Africa News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *