Villages want to protect forests - and they're willing to pay for it

40,000 more hectares of forests protected in 12 months

At Mpingo Conservation & Development Initiative, we believe that if local people see the value in their local forests, they will manage them sustainably for future generations. But this doesn't happen overnight, and we strive to develop longstanding relationships with our community partners in Tanzania. Having invested in some villages for 12 years now, we are seeing proof that our work is paying off...

This year, six villages asked us for help to set aside even more forests for conservation and sustainable management. Our field team has been helping them to do just this, and in 12 months we have seen the area of locally protected forests in these villages expand by more than 40,000 hectares (from 104,187 to 144,244 hectares). That's equivalent to an additional 25,035 football pitches filled with trees in which wildlife can roam, or 32,045 more tonnes of stored carbon dioxide to mitigate climate change.

Even more promising is that, in one of these villages, local people themselves covered half of the costs of setting up a second village forest reserve, using their own communal income from timber sales. This demonstrates that not only do local people realise the value of sustainably managing forests, but they are also willing to invest their own resources to ensure that they are protected. Together, we’re promoting sustainable forest management to halt forest loss by 2020.