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Protecting the Lost Rainforest of Mount Mabu
Posted In: Other Exciting News  9/9/09
By: Yona Williams

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Thanks to the conservation efforts of an expedition, which uncovered new species of snake, butterfly and chameleon, Mozambique gives the green light to protect lost rainforest located at Mount Mabu – untouched landscape in Africa that promises a wealth of ecological discoveries. In this article, you will learn the latest on this subject.

There's no more exploiting Mount Mabu – ever since new species have been discovered and a recent expedition has garnered public attention.  Situated in northern Mozambique, Google Earth actually played a role in locating a remote region of forest thought to be the largest in southern Africa. A meeting that took place this month has revealed that government ministers have agreed to enforce conservation before any commercial logging takes place in the area. Representatives from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT), and other interested parties were present.

The meeting focused on the impressive biodiversity of Mozambique, including butterflies and botany. Usually, mountains and some coastal forests are not protected under the category of a national park. This was a point that the Royal Botanic Gardens wished to make.

Despite the civil war that affected the land outside of the forest, the interior landscape has been untouched. Villagers use the forest as a hiding place during times of unrest, which helped to keep the land safe. Because it is difficult to reach and many people are unaware of its existence, the forest has remained a valuable well-kept secret. As an increasingly amount of locals return to the area, scientists fear the forest will become enticing for those looking to make space for crops or use the trees as wood.

The first full-scale expedition to the region occurred last October, where scientists came face-to-face with three new species of butterfly, a new species of bush viper, a collection of rare birds, as well as a handful of plants that hadn’t been previously recorded in the science books.

While turning over rocks and tapping on fallen branches, scientists explored the forest – in search of new species to enhance their conservation case. At night, they hunted for chameleons, which become much easier to spot due to a bleaching of whiteness that takes place when they sit out in the darkness. The pygmy chameleons found measure no larger than a thumb. Many were detected and one with a perfectly coiled tail and impressive coloring caught the eye of scientists.

Eight new species of amphibians were revealed during the expedition, as well as four different butterflies. There was also a new pseudo scorpion recorded by scientists. All of these findings were heard during the meeting in Maputo – before a group comprised of the likes of the Mozambican department of agricultural research, Birdlife International, WWF, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the British High Commission.



 

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