One of the tricky questions in addressing drivers of forest degradation in Tanzania is how…
Unlike Game Reserves where consumptive wildlife tourism is generating significant revenue from hunting tourists, the Nature Reserves generates revenue from photographic tourism and other non-consumptive activities. Implementation of Protected Areas and climate Change Management Projects was coordinated and managed by staff in each targeted Protected Area. Project activities related to forest management were done in close collaboration with surrounding community casual labourers selected through village assemblies. Major activities that employed large number of villagers included: forest boundary clearance, planting of tree seedlings along forest boundary length, establishment of new directional trenches, participatory forest patrols, rehabilitation of mining pits, establishment and management of nature trails, campsites establishment and management and tourist drive routes.
EAMCEF through its partners paid local communities for participation in the mentioned forest management activities as a cost-effective option than hiring a company for the purpose – despite no estimates was done to compare how much time and money it would have costed to hire private company. The payment to local communities was treated as compensation for time and labour, but also as a benefit arising from Protected Areas management. Compensation was done through cash payments at reasonable government rates. In total, during the project life over 10,800 local communities (men and women) have been employed and paid over TZS. 367 Million for providing their labour and time in managing Protected Areas. Hiring surrounding communities is not only cost effective but also important for changing perceptions of local communities especially of those tied to historical experience of exclusion, with ‘fences and fines’ conservation approaches.
The case of Amani Nature Reserve:
In support of the tourism business and forest management EAMCEF supported Amani Nature Reserve to clear nature trails that would allow tourists to walk across the forests and enjoy the nature – diverse attractions. This support is aimed at promoting the reserve and enhancing participation of local communities in forest management activities and increase revenue that is channelled to the surrounding villages. Apart from revenues from ecotourism, the little payments (as compensation for time and labour) that community members receive from participation in boundary clearing, maintenance of nature trails, forest patrols incentivise local communities to protect the forests.
Before EAMCEF came in, we never had enough budget for boundary clearance, we could only clear a small portion. Support from EAMCEF has made it possible to clear up to 6 KM nature trails that are currently being used by tourists to reach unique attractions, especially nocturnal chameleons and frogs. Because of EAMCEF support, we are experiencing increased number of tourists – for example, in 2014/15 we had 153 visitors, 635 in 2015/16 and 763 visitors by November 2017…this goes hand in hand with increased revenue. EAMCEF support has increased our visibility at both national and international levels. our focus was initially on protection of the forests for water catchment services and little advertisements were done, but through EAMCEF we managed to produce communication materials, TV and radio programmes. This support has enhanced close participation of local communities in forest management activities. We normally employ local communities from 20 surrounding villages to help up with clearance of nature trails, we pay them a small token as a compensation [for labour and time]. It would have been very expensive to accomplish these tasks if we were to hire people from outside the area. Through this support, we trained local tour guides from the surrounding villages, of which a guide gets 60% of the guiding fee, 20% goes to respective village governments, while the remaining 20% is retained at Amani Nature Reserve. Local communities participate effectively in forest patrols through their respective environmental committees, small income obtained from patrols incentivizes continued cooperation from local communities, thereby reducing illegal activities.