Participatory forest management (PFM) for rural livelihoods, forest conservation and good governance in Tanzania.
Over the last decade, the government of Tanzania has increasingly supported delegation of management rights over forest resources to local communities through participatory forest management (PFM). This has created a pressing need for further research into numerous biological, socio-economic, and technical challenges of PFM. Similarly, this emerging paradigm shift in Tanzanian forestry is creating an increasing demand from NGOs, private enterprises and public agencies for higher educated foresters who are qualified to act within the new realities of the forestry sector. The proposed ENRECA project will include PFM related research and educational activities that combine social and natural science. Focus will be on how PFM can contribute to rural development as well as forest conservation. The principal responsible institutions are the Faculty of Forest and Nature Conservation, SUA and the Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning, KVL while the Forest and Beekeeping Division, Tanzania and the Institute of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen are collaborating partners to the project.
Project Completion Report:
This project investigated whether and to which degree the concept of participatory forest management (PFM) in Tanzania has delivered on its triple objective; (i) forest conservation, (ii) improved rural livelihoods and (iii) good forest govemance.
The results show that:
1. Forests under PFM are in general haivested below or at their production capacities, but only where local communities are capable of controlling outsiders' access to their forest. Yet, most PFM forests are too small to satisfy even local demands for wood products, should they become the only source of wood available.
2. As sources of cash and subsistence products, PFM forests contribute significantly to rural livelihoods and in some cases to village government coffers. Yet, while the poorest are significantly more dependent than the more well-off households on forest incomes, it is the more well-off households who extract the highest absolute values from forests.
3. These inequitable socio-economic effects of PFM appear rooted in the locaily devised PFM rules that the more well-off households have influenced to their advantage.
Accordingly, the project sends three overall policy messages:
- PFM can work to conserve forests when local people can effectively control outsiders.
- The area of PFM in Tanzania should be enhanced significantly to reduce deforestation.
- More equitable local-level distribution of benefits from PFM seems to require top-down promotion of minority rights and interests at village-level.