Mareja | Conservation & Research

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Mareja covers 36,000 hectares of miombo coastal forest, and contains much variety, with Inselberg mountains dotted about. A major river runs through the heart of the reserve which gives rise to a valuable mosaic of riverine habitats.  The project works to protect and nurture these habitats, its game and wildlife. 

Over the years various pieces of land within the reserve have been reclaimed from eager farmers, raising funds to buy them out. They have included a beautiful fragment of Palm Forest and recently an area called Meapa (once known to be an elephant and buffalo refuge though sadly heavily poached and farmed but we can now begin the process of rehabilitation.)

We have been working for over 15 years now to try to find sustainable alternatives to poaching and illegal logging, and through daily rangering, a system of rewards and tourism, Mareja has achieved many small successes... as you say in the local language, Makua Verkani  Verkani, little by little.

In the early 2000’s Dominik and his small team of Rangers managed to stop a major trade of illegal logging on the reserve and brought about the first fine for such operations.  On average our Rangers collect 1,500 snares a year and capture around 50 poaching groups. 

The main management practices are: 

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  • controlled burning to stem the devastating later hot fires
  • management of the invasive shrub species Lantana
  • habitat protection: preventing illegal logging and poaching
  • water conservation for habitat and game management
  • supporting sustainable products: bamboo cultivation and grass cutting by the local community
  • waterhole maintenance for local community and tourists
  • infrastructure maintenance: roads and access
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