Tanzania has lost thousands of hectares of forests through deforestation and degradation arising mainly from anthropogenic factors such as unsustainable harvesting of forest products, agriculture expansion and wild fires and mining.
The Pugu and Kazimzumbwi National Forest Reserves covering a total area of 7272 hectares have experienced very high rates of deforestation and degradation as compared in 1960’s hence do not now act as good forest cover, home of wide range of wild animal species including leopards, lions, hippo, monkeys jackals,bushpigs,mongoose and hyenas.
The study by frontier Tanzania (2002) revealed that the habitats and species of Kazimzumbwi forest reserve were under pressure from human activities such as pole and timber extraction, charcoal production, fire, animal trapping, cultivation and the presence of footpaths. Although deforestation in Pugu Kazimzumbwi forest reserve is caused by many factors including weak law enforcement and poor governance, environmental education for the surrounding communities is also lacking. Training advocacy campaigns and awareness creation of rules and regulations are important followed by enforcement. There is a need to identify the knowledge gaps, apparent trainings, advocacy strategies and which conservation messages should be communicated to communities surrounding these reserves.
For example the Kazimzumbwi forest reserve which had almost changed its vegetation type from forested land to bushland and grassland has now started to regenerate after the government eviction in January 2011 after participatory forest management arrangements being formalized in the village. Training in seminars and meetings is also considered as the most interactive approach that would make REDD and related concepts more understood by the communities.
So the societies adjacent to Pugu and Kazimzumbwi forest reserves should be trained/provided environmental education, urging the importance of conserving the forests and environment at large and hence promoting villagers’ attitude for the change in forest management. On the other hand, training for capacity building and competence development of the villagers should be put in place to create immediate interest of the people to participate in forest management.
Lina James-YET 2011