Tanzania Journal of Forestry and Nature Conservation

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Socio-Economic Analysis Of Land Use Factors Causing Degradation And Deforestation Of Miombo Woodlands In Kilosa District, Tanzania

L P Lusambo, G C Monela, J Katani


Despite the threatening effects of deforestation, the dimension of this phenomenon at the micro-agent level is not well known. This study was conducted in Kilosa District, Tanzania to assess the socio-economic impact of agriculture, charcoal making and pitsawing on degradation and deforestation of Miombo woodlands. Data were collected through a socio-economic survey using questionnaire, participant observation, focused group discussions and literature survey. A total of 164 households (6.5% of the population) were randomly sampled in 6 villages for interview. Data were analyzed through descriptive statistics and multiple regression. Results indicate that agricultural and charcoal making activities are statistically significant causes of deforestation in Miombo woodlands. Technically, charcoal making and pitsawing are regarded as selective logging but leads to degradation of Miombo woodlands as they are carried out extensively. Timber harvesting by pitsawing for example contributes the highest to household average annual income of Tanzanian Shillings (Tshs) 510,290 (US$ 425) followed by charcoal making Tshs 175,675 (US$ 146) and agriculture which account for an average of Tshs 80,290 (US$ 67). On average, total annual income per household amounts to Tshs.255, 420. The findings further suggest that population growth; poverty, market and policy failures are some of the major underlying causes of deforestation. The area cleared per household per year was 0.08 ha of which, agriculture contributed 0.04 ha, equivalent to 50% of total deforestation; while charcoal making contributes 0.03 ha (37.5%). It is recommended that deliberate efforts be taken by the government: to improve people's economy hand in hand with conservation activities, develop alternative energy sources and ensure a proper definition of property rights and security of land tenure. Besides, extension education regarding tree planting and environmental conservation is of paramount significance.

TJFNC Vol. 76 2007: pp. 28-39

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