Charcoal production can lead to changes in ecosystem services provisionandforest degradation while also significantly contributing to rural income and poverty alleviation. In urban centres of Mozambique,charcoal is the major energy source for cooking.Growing demanddriveshigh wood extraction ratesover increasing areas of forest. As such, understanding charcoal production and trade has important implications for rural areas and the sustainable development of the forest sector. Here, we investigate this through empirical research conducted in Gaza Province, the main supply area for Maputo, Mozambique.We analyse both 1) the present structure of the main charcoal supply chains to Maputo;and 2) charcoal volumelicensing trends since 2009. We relied on official licensing records for four districts supplied by the Agricultural Provincial Directorate (DPA) of Gaza province. We also conducted fieldwork, from May to October 2014, in 11 villages in Mabalane district, Gaza, comprising semi-structured interviews with key informants (charcoal producers, licence holders, wholesalers, truck drivers, and forest technicians).Our results highlight the following: firstly, charcoal production in Gaza constantly moves away from the urban centres, towards more peripheralareas of mopane woodland. In Massingir district (the nearestto Maputoin our sample), charcoal production was entirely banned in 2013 due to forest degradation.Mabalane (intermediate) has the largest number of licences and highest charcoal production. In Chicualacuala (furthest), production was comparatively lower. Secondly, two types of supply chain emerge: 1) small-scale local village production and saleto wholesalers and 2)large-scale production and commercialisation by outsiders. Thirdly, while charcoal production constitutes an important income source for rural families in Mabalane, under supply chain 2) most monetary benefits do not reachlocal communities and remain with the large-scale producers.
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