One of the many perks of working in conservation is that no two days are the same. Every morning brings with it unique challenges to tackle, sights to see and triumphs to celebrate. For the Maputo National Park team, their work looks a little different today as they board a boat that will take them to Inhaca Island. This slice of paradise is situated just off the coast of Mozambique’s capital city, Maputo. Their mission is to deliver 14 gas ovens to some local bakers living on the island.

Africa’s First Marine Transfrontier Conservation Area

Inhaca Island forms a part of the Maputo National Park marine component. It is nestled adjacent to the terrestrial component of the park that we have come to love seeing on Peace Parks TV.

The marine transfrontier conservation area, the first of its kind in Africa, stretches from South Africa’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park in the south all the way to the Maputo River Mouth further north. It also includes the Portuguese Islands found within this stretch of coastline.

Together with Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), Peace Parks Foundation and partners have been hard at work in assisting the local communities living here through nature-based tourism and conservation initiatives.

A Culinary Staple

Mozambique has a rich culinary landscape, and one of the most popular food staples in the country is freshly baked bread, locally known as pão. Many tourists know that it can be found on almost every street or market. Here on Inhaca Island, there are many small local bakeries that exist where both visitors and locals alike can buy their daily fix of fresh, steaming bread.

A problem that has been identified on the island is the pressure that this industry is putting on the natural environment. Bakers use the traditional baking method using firewood, meaning that many trees from the mangroves and indigenous forests dotted on the island are being cut down. These areas are home to a large amount of biodiversity and play a vital role in keeping the ecosystem healthy.

Gas Ovens Changing The Landscape

To solve this problem, Peace Parks and ANAC are now delivering gas ovens to the local bakers on the island to help alleviate the pressure on the local forests. This will also help to reduce the baker’s expenses as they previously had to pay the woodcutters for their services as well as the transport costs of getting the wood to their bakeries.

A Win-Win For All

Initiatives such as this are changing people’s lives for the better, as they can earn an income without the risk of natural resources running out. This is a win-win for both humans and the forests that we rely on for survival.