Scaling-Up PFM in Tunduru District

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A project to improve forest governance and rural livelihoods

What is PFM?

Participatory Forest Management (PFM) is a process through which rural communities take control of local forests by setting aside an area of village land as a Village Land Forest Reserve (VLFR). Once designated, the community becomes the legal owner of the forest in the VLFR, meaning that they can keep all of the money generated from selling forest products, as long as they are harvested sustainably.


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Who benefits?

If communities use the money generated from PFM sensibly, it can lead to rural development, improve local livelihoods, and reduce poverty. These benefits provide incentives for local people to manage forests responsibly, thus protecting the environment for future generations.


Why Tunduru?

Tunduru District is dominated by miombo woodland and has an abundance of large forest blocks which serve as important biological links for wildlife to migrate between the Selous Game Reserve (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) of Tanzania and the Niassa Game Reserve of Mozambique. Together, these constitute the largest trans-boundary natural dry forest ecosystem in Africa, covering 150,000km2. Nonetheless, the landscape in Tunduru faces huge conservation and development challenges such as encroachment by pastoralists, shifting agriculture, illegal logging, poaching and gem stone mining. The project aims to address these challenges in a sustainable manner.


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The Project

Three charitable organisations: WWF, MCDI and MJUMITA, have partnered with Tunduru District Council in a three year project from 2014 – 2017 to scale-up Participatory Forest Management (PFM) in Tunduru District of southern Tanzania. The aim of the project is to improve forest governance and local livelihoods by supporting 15 communities to take control of, manage and benefit from their local miombo woodlands. This will be achieved by:

  • Supporting communities (technically and financially) to establish Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFRs) from which they can sustainably harvest and sell certified hardwood timber, among other forest products
  • Helping local communities to develop and implement innovative and sustainable business models for responsible forest management, and
  • Increasing local capacity to understand and advocate for improved rights to natural resources


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The Partners

World Wide Fund

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) aims to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment by building a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. WWF has been working in Tanzania since 1990 and they have field experience promoting good forest governance and wildlife management in the project area. WWF provides financial support for the project. They also work to identify market opportunities for forest products and provide communities with contract negotiation skills.


Mpingo Conservation & Development Initiative

The Mpingo Conservation & Development Initiative (MCDI) has long-standing experience implementing PFM in Kilwa District, where they supported 14,112 rural farmers to get user rights and management control over more than 100,000 hectares of forest in just 10 years. Once they have the legal rights in place, MCDI help communities to generate long-lasting forest-based income by sustainably harvesting and selling certified hardwood timber; they facilitated the first commercial timber harvest from a community-managed natural forest in Tanzania in 2009. MCDI’s role is to support communities to: develop and implement sustainable timber harvesting and business plans, identify local and international timber buyers, certify the community forests under MCDI’s FSC Group Certificate as a means to drive timber sales.


Mtandao wa Jamii wa Usimamizi wa Misitu Tanzania

The Mtandao wa Jamii wa Usimamizi wa Misitu Tanzania (MJUMITA) is a network that provides a forum for capacity building, advocacy and communication among Tanzanian community groups involved with PFM. MJUMITA has long-standing experience supporting institutional set-ups of local communities in implementing PFM initiatives in Tanzania. Their role is to raise awareness of PFM and ensure that each community forest reserve is governed responsibly, including an effective benefit distribution mechanism, by ensuring that Village Natural Resource Committees (VNRCs) are established, and building local capacity to perform effective administration, advocacy, and financial management. They also ensure that community-based organizations are registered at the district level.


Tunduru District Council

For many years, Tunduru District Council (TDC) has worked to advance Community Based Natural Resources Management initiatives such as PFM and Wildlife Management Areas in the project area. TDC’s role is to provide technical support to assist communities to allo-cate VLFRs, form VNRCs, and gain approval of man-agement plans and byelaws. Once they have legal tenure, TDC assists communities to undertake law en-forcement, undertake registration of timber trade, en-dorse harvesting permits, and prepare logs for trans-portation (by issuing hammers and transport passes). They will also facilitate market opportunities on forest products, support village land certification process, and advise on resolving boundary disputes.

Publications and Reports

Albert, A. 2014. Monitoring changes in forest governance at village level in Tanzania between 2011 and 2013. MJUMITA and TFCG pp. 1-60. pdf 967 kb