The village started engaging in forest conservation activities in 2012 they protect a forest that measures more than 5,000 hectares. They have also agreed to earmark 10 percent of the forest as a forest bank, with no villager allowed to harvest its resources.
Mchakama Conservation Secretary, Ahmad Lyambe told journalists recently that the funds are spent on different development projects. Journalists visited the village through a tour organised by Journalists Environment of Tanzania (JET) with support from the World Wide Fund (WWF).
“We started to engage in conservation activities in 2012, but we started selling the various forest products including timber in 2016 whereas until this year we have got more than 47m/-,” said Lyambe.
He said the funds are used for various development activities with 45 percent allocated for conservation efforts which include patrols that are conducted throughout the year.
Lyambe added that 50 percent of the money is given to the village government for the implementation of development activities and another 5 percent is given to the Kilwa District Council to facilitate provision of expertise in conservation matters.
“Used the money to renovate a school and a health centre buildings. We also purchased a solar power meant for cooking at a village primary school,” he said, commending a non-governmental organization—Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI) for providing them with the necessary support.
“We have been able to control illegal logging through regular patrols. Villagers are also practising conservation agriculture through the cultivation of crops such as millet, maize and sunflower. Shifting agriculture is no longer a norm in our village,” stated Lyambe.
Dr Lawrence Mbwambo, WWF Conservation Manager said the organization has been working to restore forests through the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) programme.
Dr Mbwambo said that WWF has committed to restoring 5.2 million hectares of forest by 2030 under the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) which targets to restore 100 million hectares by 2030.
He mentioned some of the restoration achievements attained so far in the East Usambara project a reduction in forest clearing of over 88 percent between 2006 and 2012 and the 97 hectares connection that was established between Nilo and Amani Forest Nature Reserves. He said the Derema forest corridor was also confirmed as a National Forest Reserve (956 ha) in 2009.
Successes in the Southern Miombo and Coastal forests include the decline in illegal mining activities declined by 78 percent in 13 project villages as well as the restoration of endangered species in Mchakama Village in Kilwa District.
Dr Mbwambo said at the Pugu, Vikindu and Kazimzumbwi forests, WWF in collaboration with the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) has succeeded to restore 8,862 hectares in over 10 years, and planted over 50,000 trees.
He said they have installed a solar system at Vikindu forest field office and are working closely with the villagers to promote eco-tourism.
Tanzania is currently losing 469,000 hectares of forest per year, a number which is too high compared to 300,000 hectares that were lost annually in the 1990s.
Africa’s net forest loss exceeded 4 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2005 and approximately 3.9 million ha annually between 2010 and 2020, according to a 2020 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The global forest loss between 2015 and 2020 was 10 million hectares per year with a net forest loss of 7 million hectares per year from 2010 to 2020, according to (FAO.