The Angolan highlands holds the upper catchments of both the Okavango river basin and the Upper Zambezi region of the Zambezi river basin. It is thus crucial to not only assure water security to over two million people but to maintain important populations of icon wildlife species. Covered in dense Miombo forest with a poorly studied wildlife population, the ecosystems of the Eastern Angolan Highlands are now threatened by the exponential growth of local communities returning to their land after the 27 year-long civil war that ravished and further impoverished the area. Without basic services and infrastructures, their sustenance practices have become unsustainable and now threatens the health and pristineness of the highlands and the downstream systems they upkeep.
The project aims at (1) contributing to lessen the socio-economic information gap in the Eastern Angolan Highlands, and (2) apply the obtained information into a measurable, expandable and replicable strategy plan of action for the study area; as an effort to aid safeguarding the wildlife and ecological functioning of the whole basin, essential to the Delta’s existence.
This will be carried through by (1) conducting a thorough socioeconomic baseline through interviews with key Luchaze communities to help quantify and analyse the extent of correlation, influence and dependence of these communities on the ecosystem services and/or upkeep of the whole basin; and (2) cross-referencing the obtained information with the existing science of the area, global state of the art of Community Based Conservation review and national policies to engage with the communities for sustainable livelihood alternatives based on conservation. The academic outputs and on-site conservation outcome advancements are expected to contribute to an integrated strategic plan of conservation with significant social, economic and ecological impacts that are assessable and measured through time.