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Participatory Forest Management in the Eastern Arc Mountain Area of Tanzania: Who is Benefiting?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Vyamana, V.G.; Chonya, A.B.; Sasu, F.V.; Rilagonya, F.; Gwassa, F.N.; Kivamba, S.; Mpessa, I.; Ndowo, E.A.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/274
Sector: Forestry
Region: Africa
Subject(s): CBRM
Abstract: "A study was conducted in the Eastern Arc Mountain area of Tanzania to investigate the impacts of participatory forest management (PFM) on livelihoods. Nine villages were purposively selected to include two basic models of PFM: Joint Forest Management (JFM) [four villages] and Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) [three villages], as well as two non-PFM 'control villages'. Qualitative methods and a structured questionnaire were used with a stratified random sample of households in four well-being groups. In all case study villages, the primary motivation for PFM was concern about forest degradation rather than poverty alleviation. JFM, and its associated restrictions on use, reduced the average contribution of forest products to household incomes from 19% to 13.3% with no changes in control and CBFM communities. The reduced income was partly compensated by the fact that it was considered more sustainable in the long term, with all PFM community members perceiving an improvement in the condition of their forest. This was associated, however, with increased wild animal damage to crops and, in two of the JFM cases, with degradation of non-JFM forest to which uses had been displaced. "Gini coefficient values suggest that forest product incomes are important in reducing overall income inequality within communities. However, PFM sometimes increases inequality because of technical and administrative obstacles that prevent the poorest from taking full advantage of the forest benefits. Thus the high initial investment costs of JFM-linked income-generating activities, such as fishponds and beekeeping, means that they tend to benefit only members of the Village Natural Resource Committees (VNRCs) and/or people from the richer well-being groups. The de facto exclusion of the poorest in decision-making meant that their needs are frequently not taken into account. Overall our results suggest that PFM arrangements in Tanzania are improving forest conservation but not realising their potential to contribute to reducing poverty and social exclusion. We conclude with recommendations for ways in which PFM implementation can be improved to achieve a better balance between these two facets."

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