The Futi corridor is part of a broader protected area complex within the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area, which is recognised as a globally significant area for biodiversity, lying in the Maputaland Centre of Endemism. The Futi Corridor protects the perennial Futi River as an important habitat for elephants and other wildlife species and has potential to act as a corridor connecting Maputo National Park with Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa.
The Futi Corridor covers 170,000 acres and the Muwai Community Association has mapped 24,710 acres of land on the western boundary to be incorporated into Maputo National Park. There is potential for the expansion of the community conservation area to the east and west of the Futi Corridor.
Changana and Ronga people inhabit the area, with traditional leadership structures surviving. Settlement and traditional leadership structures have survived. However, allegiances and affiliations are complex due to emigration, immigration, civil war, and cross-border interests. There is low human population density but it is increasing. Subsistence agriculture, livestock, and palm wine harvesting are primary economic activities. The Muwai Community Association is embracing conservation as an opportunity, despite past conflicts with elephants.
The Futi Corridor is a low-lying sand plain with a river that supports the largest reed and papyrus system in the subregion. The area has a unique mosaic of ecosystems including savannas, forests, and lakes. The proposed Muwai Community Conservation Area is mostly flat or gently undulating coastal Southern African Sand Forest, which is home to 30 endemic plant species and is part of the tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests biome.
The Futi Corridor connects Tembe Elephant Reserve to Maputo National Park, forming a continuous elephant range. Maputo National Park is home to various wildlife species, including elephant, hippo, zebra, and impala. Once the Muwai Community Conservation Area is established and fenced, the existing worn-out fence will be removed, allowing free movement of large mammals, including rare antelope, between Maputo National Park and the new conservation area.
The tarred main road linking the area to Maputo has opened access and is resulting in a growing demand for land on either side of the Futi Corridor. Rapid habitat transformation, increased demand for bush meat, and deforestation for fuelwood are primary threats. To the people living in the area, human-elephant conflict represents a major problem.
Muwai Community Conservation Area has the potential for tourism, game ranching, and other opportunities. The Futi Corridor is in an established tourism node near Ponto Do Ouro, close to the South African border. Development of safari products can combine with Maputo Special Reserve and marine experiences in Ponto Do Ouro. The Government of Mozambique is also interested in game ranching as a source of protein and to restock other depleted protected areas.