The human environment in the highlands and escarpments of Angola and Namibia


  • JM Mendelsohn Research & Information Services of Namibia (RAISON), Windhoek, Namibia
  • AL Gomes Departamento de Biologia da Faculdade de Ciências Naturais da Universidade Agostinho Neto, Luanda, Angola


Angola, cultivation, deforestation, escarpments, fire, highlands, land uses, livelihoods, Namibia, people


The distribution and density of people in the highlands and escarpments of Angola and Namibia (HEAN) is largely a product of proximity to urban areas, climate and soil fertility. The highest rural densities in HEAN are in central Angola, and the lowest in southern Namibia. In northern and central Angola most rural households grow crops for domestic consumption and sale, whereas pastoralism prevails in the HEAN areas of southern Angola and northern Namibia. Remittances, social grants and revenues from tourism provide most household income in northern Namibia. Angola is divided and administered via provinces, munícipios and comunas, whereas Namibia is administered through regions and local authorities for urban areas. Shifting cultivation has led to the clearing of large areas of forest, woodland and grassland. Other major human impacts are the harvesting of trees for charcoal and timber, the hunting of wildlife for the sale of bushmeat, soil erosion, and the loss of forests and woodlands and soil nutrients as a result of frequent fires.




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