On the way to Arusha through Kondoa road in Bahi district, there is a large natural forest known as Mtungutu. It is one of the largest forests in Dodoma region. It consists of various species of trees that endures semi arid climatic condition. It covers three villages; Zanka, Mundemu and Babayu. It also consist a variable species of wild animals like antelopes, hare, hyena, monkeys, squeals and wild dogs.
Due to inadequate knowledge of potentials of forest, the forests has been excessively exploited for firewood collection, timber harvest; collection of natural medicine, firing of the forest has reduced a large area of Mtungutu forest. Lack of strong government support to protection of Mtungutu forest reserve is among the factor that leads to disappearance of Mtungutu forest. Population pressure influences needs for settlement areas affects much this forest.
Little knowledge on community participation on forest management hinders protection of this forest. Overgrazing practices done by mostly Gogo and Maasai near Mtungutu forest and negligence of local government leaders who lack commitments on forest protection tend to destroy much the forest.
Mtungutu forests need community sensitization, advocacy and lobbying on participatory forest management so that community members will be able to protect their forest.
As the forests have many advantages not only to human beings but also to other living organisms, these are like habitat for wild animals. There is a great need of creating awareness and sensitization to the community, local government and private institutions at the area on the potentials of the forest so as to take measures of conserving the forest accordingly.
Herieth Sillah-YET 2011