Re-greening Tanzania's Usambara
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CTA. 1989. Re-greening Tanzania's Usambara. Spore 23. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45125
Axe and fire are destroying the forest of the East Usambara mountains in Tanzania. These forests of northern Tanzania are rich in plants and animals and protect an important watershed. If destruction is not halted, rare and valuable species will...
Axe and fire are destroying the forest of the East Usambara mountains in Tanzania. These forests of northern Tanzania are rich in plants and animals and protect an important watershed. If destruction is not halted, rare and valuable species will disappear, production of food and timber will decrease, and downstream communities will be deprived of water. It started centuries ago as slash and burn agriculture but while populations were low, this long rotation of clearing for cultivation and regeneration retained vegetative cover over the great majority of the area and no harm resulted. It was when perrnanent settlement began last century that forest-cover was removed over extensive areas, and long-term forest degradation began to affect the region. To reverse this trend, the Fight against Hunger in the World programme (FAHIW) of the BEC has financed a mission to analyze the social and technical problems of the conservation of the area and propose solutions. On the basis of this report the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has prepared a project proposal: to maintain water yield from the forests to adjacent lowland agricultural areas; to introduce stable, sustainable agricultural systems on the non-forested land on the mountains; to introduce forest management systems which are sustainable and bring benefits to local communities; and to maintain the biological diversity of the area, in particular to prevent the extinction of species of value for food, fibres and medicinal products. There will be a major effort to promote communication and cooperation among local communities inorder to promote and encourage land use practices which fulfil the project objective of sustainable development. Agroforestry will be an important element and the Chief Technical Adviser will be a specialist in agroforestry. Credit will also be made available for the establishment of village and forest activities. Because projects of this sort have often in the past failed to produce the results expected of them, IUCN believes that greater attention has to be given to the mechanisms by which the project is implemented. Decisionmaking must be delegated to the level of the land user, and farmers must make their own value judgements based on observation of other people's projects, and all activities must be open to review by all members of the peer group. Finally, aid money must be applied at the local level and, when appropriate, should cushion farmers against any risks inherent in the projects. Further information from Jeff Sayer, IUCN, CH-1196 Gland, SWITZERLAND