Community perceptions on the impact of decentralised forest management on access to livelihood assets in the north eastern and central Tanzania
Community perceptions on the impact of decentralised forest management on access to livelihoods assets were assessed in north eastern and central Tanzania. Seven villages were selected from the montane and semi-arid conditions. In the montane, three villages; Goka, Sagara and Mavumo adjacent to Shagayu, Sagara and Shume-Magamba forests under Joint Forest Management (JFM), Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) and Centralised Management (CM) respectively were studied. In contrast, four villages namely Kwabaya, Kwamatuku, Pohama and Kweditilibe adjacent to Handeni Hill (JFM), Kwakirunga (CBFM), Mgori (CBFM) and Kiva Hill (CM) forests respectively were studied in semi-arid. Data were collected using semistructured questionnaires and the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 16.0 software was employed for data analysis. Decentralised management has to some extent facilitated and mediated access to forest related livelihood assets in the study villages. Presence of other projects and lack of baseline data however, made this study difficult to associate current access to livelihood assets with decentralised forest management. However, whether legally, or illegally people are using the forests to improve their livelihoods. Unapproved management plans and bylaws are a major governance problem facing implementation of decentralised forest management in Tanzania. Nevertheless, the two decentralised approaches (JFM and CBFM) have the potential to meet the general goals of improving forest resource condition, governance and livelihoods. Therefore further research to critically review strategies for improving forest governance and livelihoods is recommended.
Key words: community, perceptions, decentralised forest management, access, livelihood assets, north eastern and central Tanzania