The state of forests in Angola is difficult to assess as there is no reliable data due to lack of capacity and the disruption of a decade-long war in the country. Estimates for forest cover vary from 43% of the total surface of the country to as little as 23%, but the actual figure is unclear as the country never carried out a reliable inventory on forests. Analysis of available data, however, shows that Angola is a country with abundant forestry resources with considerable potential for development. In terms of vegetation, the country’s forests range from tropical moist forest to Miombo woodlands and open dry forests. Mangroves also form an important part of the coastal areas.
At the moment, Angola is undertaking legislative reforms in the forestry sector. The country is currently not participating in any national REDD preparedness activities but FAO estimates consider the potential for earnings from REDD in Angola to be substantial.
The forestry sector is managed by a set of institutions in Angola, responsible for defining and developing policies and as decision-makers. Due to a lack of human and financial resources it is difficult for the organisations to carry out their responsibilities. Despite these challenges, Angola has acknowledged the potential that forests can play in the economy and the livelihoods of forest-dependent people. Further, forests are regarded as an environmental asset that contributes to stabilizing climate change, conserving soil and water and protecting biodiversity. As a result, a new policy on forests, wildlife and protected areas was formulated and subsequently, new legislation has been introduced.
Currently, FAO is assisting the Government of Angola to undertake a national forestry assessment that will produce comprehensive and up-to-date information on the state of the forest in Angola. This might include an evaluation of Angola’s potential for REDD+.