Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Tanzania

Geographical location:

Africa/Madagascar > East Africa > Tanzania

Sanje waterfall, Udzungwe National Park. Tanzania.
© WWF-Canon / Peter DENTON

Summary

Stretching across the Eastern Arc mountain range, Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountain National Park supports diverse wildlife, including elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, African wild dog and eland. 6 species of primate are found here and two are endemic, the Iringa red colobus monkey and the Sanje crested mangabey monkey.

WWF is working with Tanzania’s wildlife services as well as local communities and the private sector to protect the park. This includes conservation and management support, ecological monitoring and research, infrastructure development and ecotourism initiatives.

Background

Udzungwa mountain range represents part of the Eastern arc mountains. The range is unique in that its vegetation cover is still predominant from low to high altitude, and its canopy is relatively unspoilt.

It harbours 30-40% of endemic, rare and endangered species of plants and animals, and supports some of the most ancient and diverse biological communities in Africa. The ranges are also a source of water for economic activities including power generation, farming and fishing.

The project was originally financed by WWF UK, working with the Department of International Development (DfID) through a joint funding scheme. WWF has provided both financial and technical support to various activities, including community conservation, ecological monitoring and research, infrastructure development, as well as tourism initiatives. Various stakeholders who have interest in Udzungwa are also involved in conserving the park.

The next stage of the project, with financing from Norad through WWF Norway, focuses on supporting management of the forests outside the park including improvement of land use practices in village lands and enhancement of alternative livelihood options.

Objectives

Sustainability and health of the catchment forest and freshwater ecosystems.

Specific objectives

- Manage an effective community-based conservation and development programme for sustainable livelihoods.

- Establish a strong ecological and socio-economic monitoring programme that measures the effectiveness of park management, including areas outside the park.

- Develop the tourism potential of UMNP for the benefit of visitors, local communities and TANAPA.

- Strengthen the capacity of TANAPA to sustainably manage resources in collaboration with local communities and other stakeholders.

- Reduce degradation of Vidunda water catchment adjacent to the UMNP through catchment forest protection, management and restoration.

- Improve land use practices compatible with catchment forest protection, management and restoration on the eastern side of UMNP.

- Increase supply of fuelwood and improve use of fuelwood efficient stoves.

- Conservation of the Rungwecebus kipunji: a new species of African Monkey in Ndundulu Forest.

Solution

To achieve its goal, the project works very closely with TANAPA and other users of resources including local communities, government, local authorities, NGOs, the private sector, researchers and other stakeholders who have an interest in Udzungwa.

A participatory approach is adopted, involving stakeholders in solving problems affecting conservation efforts of the park.

Unlike other parks, UMNP allows access to some resources like deadwood twice a week, harvesting medicinal plants and thatch grasses through a special permit given by the park. In general, the project uses the integrated conservation development approach whereby conservation and livelihoods are integrated.

Achievement

- Recovery of the forests within the park has improved both local and regional rainfall and stream flow.

- Biomass has increased because of the fire control and reduced cutting compared to severe decline on non-park mountain sides.

- Community access to the park has cemented the relationship between the park and local communities.

- Communities acknowledge that the park health has improved since they get enough rain for farming activities.

- 4 community-based managed forests have been established.

- Tree cover in the villages increased to 58%.

- 25% of households use wood from their own planted trees.

- 90% of households use rice husks in baking bricks.

- 40% of households use energy saving stoves.

- Conservation awareness increased among community members.

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