Local community perception of joint forest management and its implications for forest condition: the case of Dambwa Forest Reserve in southern Zambia

  • M Phiri
  • PW Chirwa
  • S Watts
  • S Syampungani


This study conducted at Dambwa Forest Reserve in Livingstone, Zambia, evaluated the perception of local people about joint management of the forest reserve in the area and if there had been improvements to the livelihoods of the community and the ecological condition of the forest following joint forest management (JFM). Generally, more people (68%) participated in joint forestry management meetings than in forestry activities, such as forest patrol and prescribed early burning, and the size of the household significantly influenced the involvement of community members in JFM activities. The results also showed that the social status of the local community members played a significant role in their participation in JFM activities, with the forest committee member group being the most involved (57–61%). The perception of most members of the community was that there were neither monetary benefits derived from JFM nor any significant improvement in their livelihood following JFM. Although there were high regeneration levels (10 000 saplings ha−1) for all of the species, among the selected commercial trees Pterocarpus angolensis, Baikiaea plurijuga and Colophospermum mopane had natural regeneration consisting of 118, 72 and 67 saplings ha−1, respectively. Overall, 89% of the stems for the selected commercial species were less than 30 cm DBH, rendering them unsuitable for harvesting. It can be concluded that although the promotion of community involvement in forest protection and management contributes to regeneration of forest tree species, the communities did not perceive JFM as having improved their livelihood.

Southern Forests 2012, 74(1): 51–59

Author Biographies

M Phiri
Forestry Department, Zambia Forest Research Division, PO Box 22099, Kitwe, Zambia; Department of Forest and Wood Science, Stellenbosch University, Matieland 7602, South Africa
PW Chirwa
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, 5–15 Plant Sciences Complex, cnr Lynwood Road and Roper Street, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028, South Africa
S Watts
Parliament of South Africa, Parliament Street, Cape Town, South Africa
S Syampungani
School of Natural Resources, Copperbelt University, Box 21692, Kitwe, Zambia

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-2639
print ISSN: 2070-2620