Bark Stripping from Forest Tree Species in Madjadjane, Southern Mozambique: Medicinal Uses and Implications for Conservation


Tree bark is one of the most important non-timber forest products. In less developed countries, it is used for multiple purposes, particularly in traditional medicine. This paper addresses the question of bark exploitation, uses, and impacts in Madjadjane village, southern Mozambique. For that, we have conducted an ethnobotanical survey and analysed the level of damage of the ten most exploited tree species. Bark was mainly used for medical purposes, spanning 13 different applications. Most of the species had more than one medical application constituting potential sources of valuable biocompounds. In general the level of damage caused by debarking was not critical, but should be seen with caution. An upgrade and update of the results will be of utmost importance to estimate with more accuracy the current conservation status as well as to predict future impacts and define better conservation strategies. We suggest the expansion of ethnobotanical surveys as well as their integration in broad programs aimed at the preservation and valorization of local heritage. This will encourage equitable access and benefit sharing of biodiversity as well as the promotion of bio-based economy.

Share and Cite:

Senkoro, A. , Barbosa, F. , Moiane, S. , Albano, G. and Barros, A. (2014) Bark Stripping from Forest Tree Species in Madjadjane, Southern Mozambique: Medicinal Uses and Implications for Conservation. Natural Resources, 5, 192-199. doi: 10.4236/nr.2014.55018.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Williams, V.L. (2004) Trade and Socio-Economic Value of Forest and Woodland Resources within the Medicinal Plant Market in Johannesburg. In: Lawes, M.J., Eeley, H.A.C., Shackleton, C.M. and Geach, B.G.S., Eds., Indigenous Forests and Woodlands in South Africa. Policy, People and Practice, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 439-472.
[2] Evert, R.F. (2006) Esau’s Plant Anatomy: Meristems, Cells, and Tissues of the Plant Body: Their Structure, Function, and Development. Wiley J. and Sons, Inc..
[3] Krog, M., Falcao, M.P. and Olsen, C.S. (2006) Medicinal Plant Markets and Trade in Maputo, Mozambique. Forest & Landscape Working Papers 16, Danish Center for Forest Landscaping and Planning, KVL.
[4] Jha, S. and Bawa, K.S. (2006) Population, Human Development and Deforestation in Tropical Biodiversity Hotspots. Conservation Biology, 20, 906-912.
[5] Sitoe, A., Salomao, A. and Wertz-Kanounnikoff, S. (2012) The Context of REDD+ in Mozambique: Drivers, Agents and Institutions. CIFOR, Bogor.
[6] Bandeira, S.O., Gaspar, F. and Pagula, F.P. (2001) African Ethnobotany and Healthcare: Emphasis on Mozambique. Pharmaceutical Biolology, 39, 70-73.
[7] Cotton, C.M. (2009) Ethnobotany: Principles and Applications. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester.
[8] Krebs, C.J. (2009) Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance. Pearson Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco.
[9] Van Wyk, B. and Van Wyk, P. (2001) Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers (PTY) Ltd., Cape Town.
[10] African Plants Database.
[11] Palgrave, M.C. (2002) Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
[12] Izidine, S. and Bandeira, S.O. (2002) Mozambique. In: Golding, J.S., Ed., Southern African Plant Red Data Lists, SABONET, Pretoria, 43-53.
[13] Ribeiro, A., Romeiras, M.M., Tavares, J. and Faria, M.T. (2010) EthnobotanicalSurveyin CanhaneVillage, District of Massingir, Mozambique: Medicinal Plants and Traditional Knowledge. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 6, 33.
[14] Bruschi, P., Morganti, M., Mancini, M. and Signorini, M.A. (2011) Traditional Healers and Laypeople: A Qualitative and Quantitative Approach to Local Knowledge on Medicinal Plants in Muda (Mozambique). Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 138, 543-563.
[15] Naidoo, D., van Vuuren, S.F., van Zyl, R.L. and de Wet, H. (2013) Plants Traditionally Used Individually and in Combination to Treat Sexually Transmitted Infections in Northern Maputaland, South Africa: Antimicrobial Activity and Cytotoxicity. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 149, 656-667.
[16] Mabona, U., Viljoen, A., Shikanga, E., Marston, A. and Van Vuuren, S. (2013) Antimicrobial Activity of Southern African Medicinal Plants with Dermatological Relevance: From an EthnopharmacologicalScreening Approach, to Combination Studies and the Isolation of a Bioactive Compound. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 148, 45-55.
[17] De Wet, H., Nciki, S. and van Vuuren, S.F. (2013) Medicinal Plants used for the Treatment of Various Skin Disorders by a Rural Community in Northern Maputaland, South Africa. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 9, 51.
[18] Mbwambo, Z.H., Kapingu, M.C, Moshi, M.J., Machumi.F., Apers, S., Cos, P., Ferreira, D., Marais, J.P., Vanden Berghe, D., Maes, L., Vlietinck, A. and Pieters, L. (2006) AntiparasiticActivity of Some Xanthones and Biflavonoids from the Root Bark of Garcinialivingstonei. Journal of Natural Products, 69, 369-372.
[19] van Wyk, B.E. and Gericke, N. (2002) People’s Plants: A Guide to Useful Plants of Southern Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
[20] Zofou, D., Tene, M., Tane, P. and Titanji, V.P. (2012) Antimalarial Drug Interactions of Compounds Isolated from Kigeliaafricana (Bignoniaceae) and Their Synergism with Artemether, Against the Multidrug-Resistant W2mef Plasmodium falciparum Strain. Parasitolgy Research, 110, 539-544.
[21] Magaia, T., Uamusse, A., Sjoholm, I. and Skog, K. (2013) Proximate Analysis of Five Wild Fruits of Mozambique. The Scientific World Journal, 2013, Article ID: 601435.
[22] Magaia, T., Uamusse, A., Sjoholm, I. and Skog, K. (2013) Dietary Fiber, Organic Acids and Minerals in Selected Wild Edible Fruits of Mozambique. SpringerPlus, 2, 88.
[23] Cheikhyoussef, A. and Embashu, W. (2013) Ethnobotanical Knowledge on Indigenous Fruits in Ohangwena and Oshikoto Regions in Northern Namibia. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 9, 34.
[24] De Wet, H., Nkwanyanaa, W.N. and Van Vuuren, S.F. (2010) Medicinal Plants Used for the Treatment of Diarrhoea in Northern Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 130, 284-289.
[25] Tanih, N.F. and Ndip, R.N. (2013) The Acetone Extract of Sclerocarya birrea (Anacardiaceae) Possesses Antiproliferative and Apoptotic Potential against Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines (MCF-7). The Scientific World Journal, 2013, Article ID: 956206.
[26] York, T., van Vuuren, S.F. and de Wet, H. (2012) An Antimicrobial Evaluation of Plants Used for the Treatment of Respiratory Infections in Rural Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 144, 118127.
[27] Mousinho, N.M., van Tonder, J.J. and Steenkamp, V. (2013) In Vitro Anti-Diabetic Activity of Sclerocarya birrea and Ziziphus mucronata. Natural Product Communications, 8, 1279-1284.
[28] Botes, L., van der Westhuizen, F.H. and Toit Loots, D. (2008) Phytochemical Contents and Antioxidant Capacities of Two Aloe greatheadii var. davyana Extracts. Molecules, 13, 2169-2180.
[29] Agyare, C., Dwobeng, A.S., Agyepong, N., Boakye, Y.D., Mensah, K.B., Ayande, P.G. and Adarkwa-Yiadom, M. (2013) Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, and Wound Healing Properties of Kigelia africana (Lam.) Beneth. and Strophanthus hispidus DC. Advances in Pharmacology Sciences, 2013, Article ID: 692613.
[30] Mulholland, D.A., Mwangi, E.M., Dlova, N.C., Plant, N., Crouch, N.R. and Coombes, P.H. (2013) Non-Toxic Melanin Production Inhibitors from Garcinia livingstonei (Clusiaceae). Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 149, 570-575.
[31] Geldenhuys, C.J. (2004) Bark Harvesting for Traditional Medicine: From Illegal Resource Degradation to Participatory Management. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 19, 103-115.
[32] Stanley, D., Voeks, R. and Short, L. (2012) Is Non-Timber Forest Product Harvest Sustainable in the Less Developed World? A Systematic Review of the Recent Economic and Ecological Literature. Ethnobiology and Conservation, 1, 9.
[33] Geldenhuys, C.J., Syampungani, S., Meke, G.S. and Vermeulen, W.J. (2007) Response of Different Species to Bark Harvesting for Traditional Medicine in Southern Africa. In: Bester, J.J., Seydack, A.H.W., Vorster, T., Van der Merwe, I.J. and Dzivhani, S., Eds., Multiple Use Management of Natural Forests and Woodlands: Policy Refinement and Scientific Progress, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Pretoria, 55-62.
[34] Vermeulen, W.J. (2009) The Sustainable Harvesting of Non-Timber Forest Products from Natural Forests in the Southern Cape, South Africa: Development of Harvest Systems and Management Prescriptions. Ph.D. Dissertation, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.
[35] Delvaux, C. (2009) “Strip-Trees”: The Life After. Responses to Bark Harvesting of Medicinal Tree Species from Forêt Classée des Monts Kouffé, Benin. Ph.D. Dissertation, Ghent University, Ghent.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.