Woodlot Management in Tanzania
In the Makete District of Tanzania, forest, woodland and grassland resources are essential to the local economies, and are crucial for the protection of vital watersheds for the conservation of the environment for agriculture and livestock production. Using smallholder woodlot management practices as a strategy for climate change adaptation has created a new stream of income for local communities and revenues for the city, while enhancing resilience to climate vulnerability.
Widespread unsustainable land use (combined with other factors such as climate change) has produced serious ecological losses and limited farm productivity in Makete. These problems have also been aggravated by a lack of institutional, legislative and fiscal capacity for the effective management of natural resources and consequently for the stability of the Makete ecosystem.
In an effort to mitigate the risks that climate change poses to development efforts, Tanzanian authorities and local communities (sustained by international support) have improved smallholder livelihoods through woodlots management in the Makete District. Following an assessment of smallholder woodlot management practices and the marketing of timber, user groups were assisted in developing their own woodlot operational plans and harvesting rules, in setting rates and prices for products, and in determining how surplus income would be distributed or spent. This produced significant improvements in the conservation of woodlots in terms of area and density, and also helped enhance soil and water management. The resultant research also provided disadvantaged women and girls who work in woodland management and the marketing of wood products with empowering knowledge relating to species selection, land preparation, field planting and spacing, woodlot management, and marketing channels for wood products.
This improved knowledge has allowed for producers to increase their incomes, and for the Makete District government to achieve a 64 per cent increase in council revenue for 2009/2010 following the collection of royalties from timber sales.1 The creation of new sources of income triggered the setting-up of community savings and credit societies that provide financial credits to low-income people using their woodlots as collaterals. This has promoted inclusive growth and promoted savings and credit operations among members and loans to finance income-generating activities. What's more, the concrete evidence of these benefits has increased the national government’s interest in expanding climate change adaptation measures that improve rural livelihoods and the economy as a whole.
- 1. UNEP/UNDP initiative Climate Change, Development and Adaptation Programme (CC DARE) http://ccdare.org/