Through the project villagers will soon start exploring 38 indigenous tree species from their Chilingong’o Forest Reserve that are suitable for charcoal making and timber harvesting.
CoForEST project officer, Peter Ibrahim said this recently when briefing journalists who visited the village to see the impact of the initiative and what has been achieved since people were trained on forest conservation, the main challenge they have and what they need from the government.
He said once the tree species will reach a harvestable size, the village will manage to earn a total of 80m/- per year from sustainable timber harvesting and more than 40m/- from charcoal production.
So far, the village has been earmarked Chilingong’o forest reserve for Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) so that can benefit from what they conserve.
This has been possible through CoForEST project that is being implemented by Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and Tanzania Forest Management Community Network (MJUMITA) with funding from Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC).
Malolo village chairman, Wilbat Mwambe says, through the knowledge and skills gained from MJUMITA and TFCG, so far the village has been able to allocated a total of 1571 hectares of land for CBFM at Chilingong’o forest reserve.
He also stated that the village allotted 35 hectares of land for livestock keeping, 750 hectares for residential purpose and 200 hectares for agricultural activities including area s for water sources.
According to him, currently the village has four water sources—Chilungamo, Nazi, Mmawa and Mkundi. He said since TFCG and MJUMITA train villagers on forest management and the benefit it has for them, right now villagers are more active in conserving water sources and forest reserve they have within the village land something that was not the case.
Malolo village has a total of 2211.85 hectares of land, among those 1571 has been allocated for CBFM.“Right now we are installing sign board inside the forest reserve and putting signs that show boundaries between the village and forest.
Before TFCG and MJUMITA intervention, villagers were heading into Chilingong’o forest reserve illegally for charcoal production, timber and agricultural activities and were not aware on how to conserve forest and the benefit it has for them.
"Right now we have started seeing people taking serious measures on conserving the forest and water sources after they know the importance of forests they have, no one is carrying out shifting agriculture,” he said.
Ruangwa District Commissioner, Hassan Ngoma lauded TFCG and MJUMITA for coming up with the project in Malolo village.
Right now the village will take full ownership of their village land forest reserve to earn cash and later on implement village development projects. He said that although the district has endowed with indigenous trees species that is suitable for sustainable charcoal production and timber harvesting, overgrazing is very high in Ruangwa District.
DC Ngoma cited the increasing number of cattle getting into the district as one of the challenges thwarting environmental conservation initiatives in the district.
“As more livestock keepers entering in our district, cutting trees for farming activities and cattle grazing, Ruangwa, Liwale and Nachingwea district councils will become desert,” he said, calling on different stakeholders to get into forest conservation to save the district from becoming semi-desert.
Ruangwa District Executive Director, Nalasco kilumile said the district has 90 villages, whereby 15 have conducted land use plans aimed at formalizing land rights and clarifying village borders.
According to him, the district has set-aside a total of 12m/- for 2021/2022 financial year to conduct land use plans in other two villages--Nalung'ombe and Nangulugai.
"As district we will continue to collaborate with different stakeholders to ensure all these villages have land use plans, this will also help villages to engage in CBFM within their village land and later on earn cash to implement the village development projects,” he said