Implications of ecological and social characteristics to community livelihoods in the coastal areas of Tanzania
This study explored the implications of both ecological and social economic characteristics on community livelihoods and environment in distinct villages namely Mwanambaya and Kwala in Mkuranga and Kibaha districts respectively. Both districts located in coastal areas of Tanzania experienced pressure on natural resources appearing in different ecological settings. Data were collected using different tools and the analysis employed SPSS package. Results showed that agriculture production is the main source of livelihoods by 78 and 74% of respondents in Mwanambaya and Kwala respectively. Fertile soils, available water, more and suitable pasture, more vegetation with large trees attracted pastoralist in particular Wasukuma and Maasai tribes to Kwala area. Exploitation of different natural resources including cutting trees for charcoal and building, overgrazing contributed to land degradation mostly in Kwala by 40 and 20% of respondents in Mwanambaya. This study has established that community livelihoods in both urban and rural areas of Tanzania depend on natural resources organized in a form of an ecological gradient. This organization allows for different livelihood systems to interact and thus creating impacts on ecosystems and social economic undertakings. In order to sustain ecosystems productivity, establishment and implementation of village land use plans is a necessity. This will further address conflicts over resource uses that may arise due to livelihood systems interactions.
Key words: Agriculture, coastal region, ecological gradient, livelihoods, Ruvu river, Tanzania.