Participatory management system is the way of administering something by involving different groups of people and other stakeholders in a particular area.Forest conservation is the process of keeping and utilizing the forest and its products sustainably.
People in Ayasanda and Haraa villages at Babati district, in Manyara region are applying participatory management system to conserve their forests. Both leaders and the community members formulated by-laws to guide them, elected natural resource committee and the guards whose responsibilities are to ensure the forests are utilized according to the formulated by-laws.
On the other hand, every person feels like the forest belongs to him or her due to its importance to both to an individual and a community at large.
With this sense of ownership, no one is allowed or allows the other person to exploit the forest. According to their formulated by-laws, if a person is caught doing any prohibited activity in the forest, that person is taken to the village council where is punished accordingly.
Because the whole community participates in conserving the forest, they have benefited of firewood, harvesting grasses for their cattle, experiencing frequent rainfall and conducive micro-climate, the falling leaves (humus) are adding fertility in their soil leading to greater crop yield and their forests also act as source of income as different people or students pay money on their visit.
However these villages have benefited from the forests, their forests are also faced with some challenges such as bush fires and cattle feeding mostly done by their neighboring villagers. Therefore to mitigate these challenges, the communities have future plans of protecting their forests from deforestation by making sure that all prohibited activities are stopped through increasing the safeguarding and full participation of the whole community, as it is the essential thing in conserving any resource like forest.
Herieth Sillah – YET 2011