Village forest management as a way to protect biodiversity in Tanzania

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Heini Vihemäki (World Agroforestry Centre) and Charles Leonard (Tanzania Forest Conservation Group) …

Heini Vihemäki (World Agroforestry Centre) and Charles Leonard (Tanzania Forest Conservation Group)

Presentation for the conference on
Taking stock of smallholders and community forestry
Montpellier France
March 24-26, 2010

More in: Education
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  • The research was conducted as a part of the LMP. The Landscape Mosaics Project is a research and development project led by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in 5 Sites, including EUM. Funded by the Swiss Agency for Dev.In Tanzania, it is implemented by the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) in partnership with ICRAF.TFCG is an NGO supporting and implementing conservation activities in different parts of the country. The project has studied and tried to enhance the integration of local livelihood concerns and biodiversity conservation objectives in Landscape Management, such as planning of land use.
  • VFRs in Tanzania: is under the authority of the VILLAGE COUNCILS, but usually special committees responsible for management duties.Yet, in recent years, VFRs have been increasingly established also in high biodiversity value areas, often with support from NGOs or donor supported conservation projects.ISANGO & MHORI, studied impacts on biodiversity of VFM. There was NOT clear evidence of positive change in terms of increased diversity at species level during the study period (few years).Several studies on socio-economic and institutional aspects of CBFM, likely to shape their continuity (and thus have effect on BD too)
  • LOCATED in North Eastern Corner of Tanzania.
  • The three study villages are pointed with arrow. They cover a mosaics of different forested and non-forested land uses, including village forest reserves, agroforestry, monoculture and fallow lands.VFRs has been facilitated and promoted by the TFCG within the past few years. Sensitised Villagers too. Sizes from few ha to 25 ha. Small compared to Government Forest reserves, and some other areas in TZ,
  • Shannon Index was calculated, to get a wider picture of the diversity, takes into account the distribution of individuals between the speciesDiscussion on continuity of VFRs draws from previous works & observation, including research conducted by LM scientists, others and conservation organizations on social and economic aspects of VFRs and participatory conservation in the EUM, in the Eastern Arcs and more broadly in Tanzania
  • Timed Species Counts were conducted in nine vegetation plots outside the VFRs During the mist netting, ten nets were placed in a continuous line in each of the three VFRs, for three days. a total period of nine days giving an average of 660 net meter hours per full day of mist netting
  • VFRs also support local livelihoods, as many of the species are used for something, e.g. as source of fuel wood and medicines
  • Shannon index includes all plants, trees, shrubs, herbs, vines.2 EUsambara endemic TREES (CynometraengleriandCynometralongipedicellata)were recorded, both in the VFRs. 7EArc endemic and 12 near endemics were recorded, most of them also in the VFRs. Threatened plant species, both classified as vulnerable in the IUCN category, included 2 TREE SP,Allanblackiastuhlmannii (in Shambangeda VFR and agroforests), and Albiziaschimperianavar. amaniensis(in fallow).
  • To some extent the results reflects the difference in sampling intensity whereby the VFRs were only sampled using mist netting whereas other land uses were sampled using TSC. Nonetheless, this does suggest that the agricultural landscape, including agroforests, is providing habitat for a significant number of threatened and restricted range bird species.
  • Of the threatened species, all were found in agforest, mosaic of different agricultural land uses, or fallow
  • DIRECT BENEFITS, Such as money from visitor fees or fines, e.g. 55 USD/Year in Handei VFR, EUM. Used to cover management costs.
  • In ANR, a strictly protected forest in S EUM, 250 species of trees and shrubs were recorded in a survey, but the size of the reserve and the sampling intensity (170 plots) likely to have affected the results much. SMALL Size: likely to support less rare (e.g. endemic or near-endemic) species as research has shown connection between size of forest and number of rare species (e.g. Newmark 2002).


  • 1. Village Forest Management as a way to protect biodiversity in Tanzania
    Heini Vihemäki (World AgroforestryCentre) and Charles Leonard (Tanzania Forest Conservation Group)
  • 2. Background
    the forest area under the control of communities (villages, groups) has increased during the past 15-20 years in TZ
    the knowledge on for forest quality in community managed areas inadequate
    some indication on improved forest maintenance and quality (e.g. Blomley et al. 2008)
    Most Village Forest Reserves (VFRs) established in areas not principally targeted for BD conservation
    debate on whether community management ‘works’ for BD conservation goal
    Few studies on their contribution to biodiversity conservation in Tz, e.g. Isango and Mhoro (2009)
  • 3. Questions
    What is the BD value of VFRs in the East Usambaras, and how they compare with other land uses outside strictly protected forests?
    BD addressed here as species level & the distribution of species (evenness)
    Is the approach likely to be viable in terms of continuity of management ?
  • 4. Context: The East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania
    Part of the Eastern Arcs
    contain 6/19 Eastern Arc endemic and 13/26 near endemic bird species
    40 EA endemic or near endemic tree species
    Threats: fires, clearance of forest for agriculture, pit-sawing, harvesting of trees for building materials, mining
    VFRs established since 1990s with external support, TFCG and others
    Income generating activities
  • 5.
  • 6. Methods
    botanical and bird survey covering a gradient from VFRs to agroforests and more open land uses in 3 village landscapes
    Shannon index of all the plant species recorded in each plot/land use & no of tree sp/ha
    Aggregated species diversity per different land uses (no of plant species)
    Socio-economics: literature, observation
  • 7. Methods & materials
    Bird surveys: Time Species Count (non-VFR) and mist netting (VFRs)
    Vegetation survey plots:
  • 8. Results on plant sp diversity
  • 9.
  • 10. Results on Bird diversity
    High diversity: in total, 89 bird species recorded in the three village landscapes, including threatened and EA endemics
    The banded green sunbird was the only Eastern Arc endemic recorded
    six Eastern-Arc near endemic species
    all EA endemics/near endemics found in agforest, mosaic of agricultural lands, fallow or plantation. only two were also found in the VFRs
  • 11.
  • 12. Prospects of Continuity
    Motivation and Attitudes of local people: Generally attitude positive, but high variation within and between villages inawareness and willingness to participate
    Costs of establishment and support to management: high reliance on external funding and facilitation
    Most benefits are ‘intangible’ so far, and direct benefits small (e.g. through Income generating activities)
    Governance: depends on the village politics & groupings, challenges related to transparency
  • 13. Conclusions
    VFRs can be conducive to BD conservation objectives, as they support more species compared to other non-reserved land uses
    Higher diversity index and no of tree species
    agroforestsand fallows also support several species, and especially rare birds
    relatively small sizes of VFRs a constraint to conservation of certain species (e.g. Birds)
    Less species comp. to strictly reserved forests
    Continuity of management is at risk, e.g. due to dependency on external support in creation and incentives, small benefits so far
  • 14. Recommendations
    As establishment of new gov. forest reserves is expensive and prone to conflicts, need to enhance BD conservation in VFR & village landscapes
    creating value to the VFRs e.g. through PES one potential way to enhance their economic value and viability
    Training on forest committee members and others on account keeping, to improve transparency of benefits
    need to build capacity (e.g. facilitation of management planning) at different levels of the governance system, not only village
  • 15. Main sources
    Leonard, C., Mwangoka, M., Mkongewa, V. and Doggart, N. 2010. Assessment of the biological values of different land cover types in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania. TFCG Technical Paper No. x.Dar es Salaam. Unpublished Draft.
    Map. Produced for the LMP (?) by Jaclyn Hall, University of Florida.
    Rantala, H., Lyimo, E., Powell, B., Kitalyi, A. & Vihemäki, H. 2009. Natural resource governance and stakeholders in the East Usambara Mountains. Working paper of the Landscape Mosaics Projects.Unpublished draft.
  • 16. Thank you for your attention!Merci beaucoup pour votre attention!