Majang zone of Gambella Regional State is a zone endowed with unique biodiversity, cultural values and traditional practices supporting sustainable conservation of the forest. Majang forest is part of the few afromontane wet natural forests remaining in the country. It constitutes the largest unfragmented forest remaining in the country, and by far the largest in the Horn of Africa. It occurs along a wide ecological gradient and includes diverse species of both flora and fauna.
The Majang forest has been registered as biosphere reserve and included in the network of world biosphere reserves by the Man and the Biosphere program (MAB) of UNESCO in July 2017.
Majang forest biosphere reserve is now one of the 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries all over the world. The biosphere reserve covers a total area of 224,924 hectares.
Whereas the total area of the biosphere reserve is divided in to three zones namely Core, Buffer and Transitional zones, the size and distribution of the zones across the biosphere reserve is as follows:
|Districts||Core zone||Buffer zone||Transitional zone|
Core zone/area: A legally constituted/protected area or areas of sufficient size for long-term conservation. It is exclusively established for biodiversity conservation or to ensure that all plant and animal species and communities survive and flourish throughout the area. Potential activities allowed in the core area include monitoring minimally disturbed ecosystems, and undertaking non-destructive research and other low-impact uses.
Buffer zone: This zone is set to buffer the core zone from human interference, while allowing conservation and sustainable utilization of forest resources. Only activities compatible with sound ecological practices such as eco-friendly agriculture, environmental education, recreation, ecotourism and applied and basic research can take place in this area.
Transitional zone: flexible area – in which sustainable development and resource management practices are promoted and developed. Can be used for a range of uses that can improve the livelihood of the surrounding community on sustainable base. Activities to be undertaken in this area include agricultural activities, settlements and other uses.
The biosphere reserve is created with the aim of meeting the following three basic functions:
- Conservation function: Biosphere reserves aim to contribute to the preservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation
- Development function: Biosphere reserves aim to foster economic development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable
- Logistic function: Provide support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development