Leakage in relation to community based forest manaement (CBFM) in Tanzania

Start date: 25 March, 2013 End date: 17 May, 2013 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A22331 Countries: Tanzania Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Anna Meisner Jensen Total grant: 18,000 DKK


Decentralization of forest management has developed across the world as a response to the unsustainable exploitation of forests. The assumption behind is that forests are better managed if the local forest users are involved in management of the forests from which they depend. The strategy has been applied in Tanzania with the development of the concept of Participatory Forest Management (PFM) since the beginning of the 1990s.  One of the threats for PFM to be effective is a problem usually referred to as ‘leakage’. In this context, leakage is when restrictions on the use of an area introduced by PFM, results in increased use of other areas. PFM areas then might show signs of sustainable use and improving quality at the expense of the surrounding non-PFM areas. Thus, when not accounting for leakage, impact assessments tend to lead to an incorrect impression of the effectiveness of PFM.
This study has dealt with the issue of leakage in the context of CBFM, to understand to what extent leakage occurs and the level of degradation in the areas outside the CBFM forests. The thesis is based on data from two months fieldwork where biophysical forest inventories and household interviews were conducted, from the two Tanzanian villages, Kiwele and Mfyome, where CBFM was implemented in 1998-2003. The villages are situated in an area of miombo woodlands; a vegetation type widely spread across Africa. In this thesis, the total harvest outside the CBFM forest boundaries is considered as a measure of leakage, even though not all of it can be attributed to CBFM implementation. This is not fully in compliance with the original definition, as it proved unfeasible to examine due to lack of baseline data to compare with.
The results showed that the wooded open lands (non-PFM areas) of Kiwele and Mfyome are an essential source of forest products for the vast majority of households, and that the harvest level appears to be sustainable, though caution should be taken regarding these conclusions, particularly in the case of Kiwele, which might just be at the limit of sustainable use. In terms of leakage it was found that a little more than half of the total extracted amount in Kiwele and Mfyome originates from the wooded open lands. In the light of this relatively large share of the harvest originating from outside the PFM forests, I assert that PFM impact assessments on forest conditions should, to a greater extent, take a more landscape oriented approach and include extraction from other sources. By including the level of leakage, a more comprehensive and reliable setting is provided, when examining the effectiveness of PFM in meeting the objectives.
Not much attention has been given to aspects of leakage in the context of PFM. Thus, further investigation on the leakage issue needs to be conducted in order to confirm the findings of this thesis. Particular in JFM villages, as the risk of leakage in theory would be greater here than in CBFM villages.