Weltweit – Gesellschaft zur Förderung lokaler Initiativen e. V. Weltweit e. V.

Matutuine Bamboo Park

Project Summary

60 hectares of land in the border area of the Maputo nature reserve have been severely damaged by the removal of sand for the construction of a road that connects Maputo city with the coastal town of Ponto do Ouro and runs through the Matutuine district. The devastated soil and the illegal extraction of further sand from the open areas prevent the colonisation of valuable flora and fauna.

As a pilot project, bamboo is to be planted for the ecological restoration of 12 hectares of degraded land. A mixed forest of endemic and exotic bamboo species with characteristics adapted to the micro-ecology of the landscape will help to restore soil stability and increase biodiversity. In the next step, the project envisages the creation of a park with leisure facilities within the bamboo forest, which will provide jobs and income for the local population

Global Goals

Project Manager




Ongoing since 2024




  • Ursula Merz Stiftung

Project goals

  • 1. rehabilitation of the landscape and syntrophic reforestation with bamboo: planting of 4000 bamboo plants, 800 endemic species and 800 windbreaker species along the borders of the target area

  • 2. community empowerment and job creation: Capacity building and involvement of local communities in sustainable bamboo cultivation and management

  • 3. economic value creation: job creation through the sustainable management of the park and tapping the economic potential of bamboo to create a basis for the bamboo value chain.

Paulino Botao is the project manager and initiator of the Matutuine Bamboo Park project. Paulino studied tourism and ecology in India and Portugal. He started growing bamboo in Mozambique 12 years ago and carried out cultivation trials with different varieties to test how they react to different ecological conditions. A mixed forest of perennial bamboo and annual crops has grown on his 3 hectare cultivation area not far from the project site, providing income for several households in the village. In his master’s thesis at the University of Lisbon, he designed a hexagonal house made of bamboo that can withstand the strongest tropical storms. He has been assisting Prof Sascha Luipold as a guest lecturer in the Faculty of Sustainable Architecture at Rhine-Main University of Applied Sciences since 2023. Paulino currently lives in Frankfurt but spends a quarter of the year in Mozambique.

Paulino has been working with Weltweit e.V. since 2022. His vision is to prepare the people in his home country for climate change and make them more resilient to its extreme effects, such as the cyclones that have been recurring for years now. The bamboo park project described here is an important part of his larger research and development initiative, which includes the establishment of a modern research centre. The planned Bamboo Research and Training Centre will serve as an incubator for innovation, focusing on the cultivation and study of resilient plant species that can thrive in Mozambique’s unique climate. See: https://welt-weit.org/project/bambus-bildungs-und-forschungszentrum-mosambik/

The Matutuine district in southern Mozambique is of great ecological importance because it forms a buffer zone between the Maputo nature reserve and the coastal town of Ponta do Ouro, which is popular with tourists. However, more than 60 hectares of land within a radius of 20 kilometres have been devastated by soil removal for road construction, leading to severe erosion and increased vulnerability to further illegal sand mining. The areas look like abandoned and unprotected construction pits and attract construction companies and private developers to stock up on construction sand for free. This ongoing exploitation not only threatens the stability of the new road, but also jeopardises the renewal of the ecosystem and local biodiversity. The local authorities and the national park administration do not have sufficient resources to cordon off the pits or otherwise protect them from overexploitation. As long as the open areas remain unattended due to lack of renaturalisation or other use, people will meet their growing demand for building materials there and the actual purpose of nature conservation for the area cannot be fulfilled.

During a conference organised by Paulino and his Ngo ASSAMBA at the end of 2023, the degraded areas were visited at the invitation of the national park authority and initial plans for their restoration were drawn up. Partners and initial funding commitments for the project were secured during the conference. The planned bamboo park, on which a mixed forest of bamboo and native tree species is to grow, will not only rehabilitate the degraded area, but also strengthen the neighbouring ecosystem of the national park, expanding the refuge for wild animals and some endemic plants. It will also function as a kind of outdoor area for the planned Bamboo Training and Research Centre, where plant communities with different bamboo varieties can be tested and presented to the public. The project objectives are as follows:

  1. revitalisation of the land: The main objective of the bamboo park project is to renaturalise 12 hectares of degraded land with the aim of restoring soil integrity, improving biodiversity and creating natural protection against erosion. A bamboo forest planted with 5,600 seedlings, 800 of which are native species and 800 of which are species specifically suited for wind protection, is to be created on the area. There will be a mixture of 6 endemic tree species and 9 bamboo species. The mixed forest will be planted according to the principle of synoptic agriculture or forestry, whereby many species with completely different characteristics (height and size) and life cycles will be planted in a very dense area. The result is not a bamboo monoculture, but rather the promotion of biological diversity in the area, which creates refuges for endangered species and a habitat for ants, beetles, bees, frogs, snakes, birds, monkeys, etc.
  2. information and education: The bamboo park is designed as an educational park to educate the public about the benefits of bamboo in terms of its ecological properties and the possibilities for its further processing. Paths will be laid out for day visitors to explore the growth forms and habitats of different bamboo species in the community of other useful plants. The aim is to create a new awareness of bamboo as a useful plant among the population. Until now, the prevailing view has been that bamboo is a weed and a poor man’s building material.
  3. community empowerment: The bamboo park serves to build capacity and involve local communities in sustainable bamboo cultivation and management. Once completed, the park will offer workshops, for example on the production of biochar from bamboo as a fertiliser substitute. Because bamboo is easier for women to work with than other types of wood due to its light weight, particular emphasis is placed on empowering women and marginalised groups in the training programmes.
  4. economic value creation: The project aims to create jobs through the management of the bamboo forest and to create a basis for the local industry for bamboo products. Therefore, in addition to the footpaths for visitors, there will also be farm tracks through the park, through which the entire mixed forest will be sustainably managed. The use of harvested bamboo as building material and fuel will relieve the pressure on the surrounding areas, where wild fruit trees were previously felled for charcoal production. The 12 hectares of mixed forest planted will not bring any enormous relief or additional income to the local population. Rather, they serve as a demonstration area for the economic potential of bamboo.

The executing partners in this project are:

  • ASSAMBA: As the implementing partner, ASSAMBA will be primarily responsible for the overall management of the project. This includes the cultivation of bamboo and other species, the management of the park’s landscape architecture and the provision of environmental advice. ASSAMBA will also lead on community engagement and training activities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.
  • APAM (Maputo Environmental Protection Area): APAM will play a crucial role in allocating degraded land for the project and facilitating co-operation with local communities. Their established relationships and experience in working with the communities will be invaluable in ensuring the acceptance and success of the project at grassroots level.
  • ABIODES (Associação para Desenvolvimento Sustentável): ABIODES will contribute its expertise on agroecological practices, especially in the field of syntropic agriculture and soil salinisation mitigation. We are very happy about the contact with ABIODES, which came about through our other project on saline soil management. The project leader Jakob Herrmann and his team at the University of Maputo are also very interested in using this project to gain insights into the potential of bamboo to regulate soil salinity. Findings from both projects can thus be utilised by the respective other project team. The existing knowledge of ABIODES will be crucial to ensure the ecological viability and sustainability of the project.

This project is not only an environmental endeavour, but also a socio-economic one. The establishment of the park will include recreational and educational facilities that will contribute to community engagement, employment opportunities and sustainable income generation. ASSAMBA will develop a 15-year management plan for the bamboo forest in which best practices will be implemented and monitored under the supervision of APAM and other relevant government institutions. After this period, the management of the project will be handed over to APAM, which will formally have formal responsibility over the project area from the outset. As bamboo is extremely fast-growing, a large proportion of the park’s maintenance and operating costs can be covered by commercial activities after the first year. There is also the option of developing the park into a birdwatching destination, as interesting ecosystems have already formed in and around the waterholes, attracting birds and birdwatchers from neighbouring South Africa.