is the Swahili word for Brachystegia
, a genus of tree comprising a large number of species. Miombo woodland
is classified in the tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands
biome (in the World Wildlife Fund scheme). The biome includes four woodland savanna
ecoregions (listed below) characterized by the predominant presence of Miombo species, with a range of climates from humid to semi-arid, and tropical to subtropical or even temperate.
Characteristically the trees shed their leaves for a short period in the dry season to reduce water loss, and produce a flush of new leaves just before the onset of the rainy season with rich gold and red colours masking the underlying chlorophyll, reminiscent of temperate autumn colours.
The name miombo is used in a number of Bantu languages in the region such as Shona and Bemba.
Miombo woodland ecoregions
Miombo woodlands form a broad belt across south-central Africa, running from Angola
in the west to Tanzania
to the east. These woodlands are dominated by trees of subfamily Caesalpinioideae
, particularly Miombo (Brachystegia)
, which are rarely found outside Miombo woodlands. The four ecoregions are:
These miombo woodlands are also important to the livelihoods of many rural people, who depend on the resources available from the woodland. The wide variety of species provides non-timber products such as fruits, honey, fodder for livestock and fuelwood.
Flora and fauna
Despite the relatively nutrient-poor soil, long dry season (and low rainfall in some areas) the woodland is home to many species, including several miombo specialist endemic bird species. The predominant tree is miombo
spp.). It also provides food and cover for mammals such as the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
, African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)
, Sable Antelope (Hippotragus niger)
and Lichtenstein's Hartebeest (Sigmoceros lichtensteinii)
References and external links
- "The Miombo Transition: Woodlands & Welfare in Africa", CIFOR (1996), ISBN 9798764072, edited by Bruce M Campbell is a standard reference on the description & uses to which animals and man put these savanna woodlands.
- Eastern Miombo woodlands (World Wildlife Fund)