Scaling-up Participatory Forest Management in Tunduru District

MCDI’s work began and remains centered in Kilwa District of south-eastern Tanzania. Whilst Kilwa remains our priority, new opportunities abound elsewhere and the time is ripe for MCDI to begin further expansion. Accordingly, on September 3rd, 2014, we will begin working alongside WWF Tanzania, MJUMITA and Tunduru District Council to boost community rights over forest resources through Participatory Forest Management (PFM) in Tunduru District. This three year project will be the first test of MCDI’s capacity to work intensively at significant distance from Kilwa; it will signify the start of a new role which we are pursuing as a key provider of PFM facilitation services in Tanzania.

Tunduru District, located 590 km to the west of Kilwa, is dominated by miombo woodland and has an abundance of large forest blocks which serve as important biological links for wildlife to migrate between the Selous Game Reserve (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) of Tanzania and the Niassa Game Reserve of Mozambique. Together, these constitute the largest trans-boundary natural dry forest ecosystem in Africa, covering 150,000km2. Nonetheless, the landscape in Tunduru faces huge conservation and development challenges such as encroachment by pastoralists, shifting agriculture, illegal logging, poaching, and gem stone mining.

The project aims to address the challenges in Tunduru by supporting 15 forest-dependent communities to take control of, manage and benefit from their local miombo woodlands, thus improving local livelihoods and providing incentives for communities to practice responsible forest management. Specifically, MCDI and partners will support communities (technically and financially) to:

  • Establish Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFRs), from which they can sustainably harvest and sell certified hardwood timber, among other forest products;
  • Develop and implement innovative and sustainable business models for responsible forest management; and,
  • Enhance local capacity to understand and advocate for improved rights to, and governance over, natural resources.