0813-C1

Participatory Forest Management in Tanzania

Zakia H. Meghji[1]


Abstract

Tanzania has about 38.8 million ha of forests. This is about 41% of the total land area. These resources are under enormous pressure from human settlements and activities such as illegal harvesting, fires and mining. These pressures lead to deforestation, estimated to be 91 000 ha per annum.

Forests play an important role in the livelihoods of Tanzanians. It is estimated that more than 90% of the population uses wood for domestic energy. Forests also provide various non-wood products and are important for water catchment.

The forest resources need sustainable management for the benefit of the present and future generations. For a long time forests in Tanzania have been managed without full participation of the local communities and other relevant stakeholders living around the forest resources.

Local communities have a significant role in improving forest management and their participation can therefore contribute significantly to effective management of these resources. Strategies of involving communities and other stakeholders in forest management in Tanzania are referred to Participatory Forest Management (PFM).


PFM has been accorded high priority both in the National Forest Policy and the National Forest Programme (NFP). Legal and institutional frameworks for supporting PFM implementation are also in place. PFM is part of an overall rural development strategy, intended to improve rural livelihoods and thereby help reduce poverty, while at the same time protecting the environment and promoting equitable distribution of benefits.

Over the past five years a range of projects have been testing PFM in many parts of the country and have made generally good progress. Over 902 out of 10 000 villages are currently practising PFM in Tanzania and over 441 881 ha are under Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) while 396 330 ha are panned or under Joint Forest Management (JFM).

In order to secure the sustainability of PFM, focus is both on conservation and economic incentives for communities. One of the most significant developments in PFM in Tanzania has been the effort to strengthen or reintroduce indigenous knowledge and practices in managing and protecting forests.

Tanzania has about 38.8 million ha of forests. This is about 41% of the total land area. These resources are under enormous pressure from human settlements and activities such as illegal harvesting, fires and mining. These pressures lead to deforestation, estimated to be 91,000 ha per annum.

Forests play an important role in the livelihoods of Tanzanians. It is estimated that more than 90% of the population uses wood energy for domestic. Forests also provide various non-wood products and are important for water catchment.

The forest resources need sustainable management for the benefit of the present and future generations. For a long time forests in Tanzania have been managed without full participation of the local communities and other relevant stakeholders living around the forest resources.

Local communities have a significant role in improving forest management and their participation can therefore contribute significantly to effective management of these resources. Strategies of involving communities and other stakeholders in forest management in Tanzania are referred to Participatory Forest Management (PFM).

PFM has been accorded high priority both in the National Forest Policy and the National Forest Programme (NFP). Legal and institutional frameworks for supporting PFM implementation are also in place.

PFM is part of an overall rural development strategy, intended to improve rural livelihoods and thereby help reduce poverty whilst at the same time protecting the environment and promoting equitable distribution of benefits.

Over the past five years a range of projects have been testing PFM in many parts of the country and made generally good progress. Over 902 out 10,000 villages are currently practising PFM in Tanzania and over 441,881 ha are under Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) while 396,330 ha are panned or under Joint Forest Management (JFM).

In order to secure the sustainability of PFM, focus will be both on conservation and economic incentives for communities.

One of the most significant developments in PFM in Tanzania has been effort to strengthen or reintroduce indigenous knowledge and practice in managing and protecting forests.

With devolution of power, roles and responsibilities of managing forest resources to the low level of governance and recognition of indigenous knowledge, scaling up of PFM implementation is has a bright future.


[1] Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, United Republic of Tanzania. Email: fordev@africaonline.co.tz