Conservation through sustainable forest harvesting generates income for rural village in Tanzania
A community in Nanjilingi village have forged a partnership with investors to construct eco-lodges using the revenue collected from selling timber. They have also managed to attract investors who have agreed to set up a saw mill in the village. This is based on a concept championed by WWF since 2012 that involves the community managing natural resources.
Forests support livelihoods of 87% of rural households in Tanzania in terms of income and services, provide 90% of energy used in the country (biomass & charcoal) and perform vital ecosystem service functions in terms of water catchment and storage and biodiversity maintenance. Coastal Forests and Eastern Arc Mountain forests have long been identified as globally significant centres of biodiversity and sources of economic goods and services.
The notion of participatory forest management in Tanzania as provided by the national forest policy and supported by the legislation has been a sound strategy under the Ministry of natural resources and tourism in the management and conservation of forests. It was initiated under the National Forest Policy of 1998.Isaac Malugu, the Programme Coordinator for the Forests Programme says WWF has been promoting sustainable harvesting of forest products by working with local partners and they have been able to put more that 100000Ha under the scheme.
“Through forest quality management analysis we have noted that in areas covered by this programme, forests have been greatly improved, where more trees are now allowed to grow, and trees are used more sustainably compared to the past years”, Says Malugu
“We can now report that even animals are now returning to their natural habitats. In Rufiji for example Herds of elephants and antelopes who were rarely seen are now a common presence in these areas” he adds.
The increase is the outcome of the communities work in tree planting, safeguarding existing foresting and sustainable harvesting of the forest products. The funds are managed by the village forest committees and are being invested in community projects such as building maternity wards in the village dispensaries, constructing water wells, school classrooms, and teachers’ houses in some villages as well as providing school equipment to the students and schools like exercise books, pens and pencils and chalks for the schools.