Recent changes in the Forest Policy of Tanzania (1998) and the forthcoming new Forest Act which further operationalises that Policy, have paved the way for several changes in the way that forest conservation might be achieved in Tanzania, including guidelines on the development of Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) and Joint Forest Management (JFM). These changes also mean alterations in the potential roles of the Forestry Department, the local communities and various conservation NGOs.
The Uluguru Mountains cover a huge area of rugged terrain rising to over 2500 m a.s.l. located within parts of 6 Political Divisions. There are four government forestry staff with responsibility for 13 Forest Reserves on the Ulugurus, containing over 200 sq km of forest. The tops of the large mountain peaks are found in two large Catchment Forest Reserves (Uluguru North and South) managed by the Catchment Forestry Project under the central government Forestry and Beekeeping Division. These two reserves were the most important source of water in the country as they supplied water to Dar es Salaam and also held globally important biodiversity values. There are also Catchment Forest Reserves on the lower slopes of these mountains, and a few smaller forest reserves owned by the local authority and managed by the District Forest Officer through the District Council.
The project chose a focal area in Mkuyuni Division that contained part of the Uluguru North Catchment Forest Reserve, the largest (former) area of General Land Forest and some Local Authority Reserves. As these forest areas are (or were) contiguous with the forests of the Uluguru North Catchment Forest reserve they are hence ecologically similar and surrounded by people practising similar lifestyles, and it was believed that they could provide a good test area for involving local people in forest management.
As part of the project, some activities were carried out in the General Lands (CBFM) and Local Authority Reserves (JFM) in the focal area:
- a workshop on JFM involving all village leaders to create awareness amongst these leaders on environmental conservation and issues pertaining to the new vision for forest management contained in the 1998 forest policy.
- exchange visits to other parts of Tanzania where there are working examples of these management systems.
- the use of aerial photographs and field surveys enabled the forest cover to be mapped in the project area to identify the remaining forest.
- village meetings in the project area to inform participants on the environmental importance of the Uluguru Mountains, and the new changes in Forest Policy which would allow them more control over forested land in their village lands (through Village Forest Reserves - CBFM), and also allowed them opportunities for discussing with the government on user rights for Forest Reserves (JFM agreements).
- the promotion of local management authorities development.
The work on CBFM and JFM in Mkuyuni Division of the Uluguru Mountains is still at an early stage. Presently most effort is being put into getting the remaining Kitumbaku forest reserve declared as Village Forest Reserves for management by six different villages. It will be a major achievement to stop the last of the forests on the Kitumbaku/Kitundu Hills being converted into banana plantations, and to also safeguard the drinking water supplies for the six surrounding villages. Part of the boundary is already surveyed and all four villages have accepted the need for the reserve to protect their water sources through the creation of a Village Forest Reserve.
The following lessons learnt in the General Forest Lands and Local Authority Forest Reserves on the slopes of the Ulugurus have a direct bearing on the development of future JFM in the Uluguru North and Uluguru South Catchment Forest Reserves, as well as other areas:
- the most important forest areas on the Ulugurus are under the authority of Catchment Forestry who have a mandate to protect the nationally important water catchment functions for Dar es Salaam and Morogoro towns, and the globally important biodiversity values in the forests.
- it has been noted the lack of information available to design and then implement JFM in the Ulugurus. In 10 villages in one Division sufficient data were collected to move CBFM and JFM forwards over a period of three years. However, it is difficult to understand the land ownership patterns sufficiently to ensure that the agreements made with village governments will be respected by Luguru clan groups, or other land ownership and management bodies on the Ulugurus.
- mapping of Ward and Village boundaries, has shown that 50 villages border the two large Catchment Reserves within 19 Wards and 6 Divisions. The villages on the Uluguru Mountain slopes and adjacent lowlands contained a total population of around 400,000 people in 1988, and probably somewhat more than that now. The experience of defining village use zones for 6 villages within a single piece of forest on the General land indicates that defining boundaries for 50 villages within the Uluguru North and South Forest Reserves will take considerable time to negotiate successfully. Methods for marking these boundaries also need to be devised.
- the positive attitude of some local people who would like to have forest areas under their own management, to better protect the forests and especially their water supplies. However, there are also power struggles within each village between elements of village government who would like to allocate forest land for farming, and the newly created forest committees who would like to establish management systems for those forests.
Although the work at the Uluguru Mountains is still at an early stage, all means and efforts have been made since it has been initiated, to make it a success. We hope it will encourage other communities all around the world to practise similar lifestyles.
Extracted from: "Community-Based Forest Management and Joint Forest Management, Some Beginnings in the Ulugurus", Ernest Moshi, Neil Burgess, Eliakim Enos, Joseph Mchau, John Mejissa, Shakim Mhagama and Lameck Noah, sent by Nike Doggart - Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, e-mail: email@example.com