Socio-economic impact of ox skidding project to the surrounding villages of Mount Meru forest plantations, Northern Tanzania: management paper

  • W.S. Abeli
  • J.R. Maximillian
  • A.E. Kweka
  • D.T.K. Shemwetta


The ox skidding project was initiated with the objective of using oxen for transporting logs from the stump sites to the landings. It was supposed to be a participatory research project aimed at integrating scientific knowledge with practical skills and resource base of the local farmers. Specifically the main objective of the project was to encourage local farmers (villagers) to use their animals to skid logs in the surrounding forest plantations in order to improve their incomes and create employment opportunities to the surrounding communities especially the youth. A socio-economic survey was carried out after 6 years to assess the impact of the project to the ox owners who have been participating in the project, the ox handlers, the surrounding villages and the forest plantations. Data was collected through administering semistructured questionnaires to ox owners, village leaders, ox handlers and the management of the forest plantations. Results indicate that the ox skidding project has been a reliable and valuable source of income besides offering employment to young people with only limited education. The project has improved the household income, life style and standard of living of some farmers and above all, changed the local peoples' attitudes towards the importance of the surrounding forest resources. Most of the local people feel that they are now part of the surrounding forests as they participate to some extent in the management and protection of these forest resources. The project has in addition created awareness among the community that oxen can also be used in forest operations besides undertaking agricultural activities. The project found that given the operating conditions of the skidding tractors in this area, ox skidding was more reliable and more cost effective than the tractor skidding system. Through this project, it has been possible to improve the working relationships between the surrounding villages and forest plantations management. The project has also led to some of the surrounding villages establishing village environmental committees, which work very closely with forest plantation management. The sustainability of the ox skidding system introduced in this area is likely to continue since farmers surrounding these plantations keep cattle and there are not many alternative job opportunities for the young people. Key words: Ox skidding logging system, Ox handlers, Ox owners, Environmentally sound harvesting system, Tractor skidding system

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eISSN: 2070-2639
print ISSN: 2070-2620