Projects

See below for more information on our current Reforest Africa projects.

Udzungwa Forest Project

The Udzungwa Forest Project is a conservation project based in southern Tanzania. While an international collaboration, the project is led by Flamingo Land Ltd.  in the UK. The aim of the project is to better protect tropical forests through ecological monitoring, community education, capacity building and lobbying. UFP is based mostly in the Magombera forest, on to the east side of the breath-taking Udzungwa Mountains in Tanzania.

Main focus

The aim of UFP is to better conserve tropical forests, through ten key objectives:

1) Providing education in local villages (and also the UK);

2) Providing training and capacity-building; 

3) Management of habitats for biodiversity; 

4) Improving income generation in villages; 

5) Mitigating human-wildlife conflict; 

6) Improving protection of forests; 

7) Ecological and socio-economic monitoring; 

8) Biodiversity conservation research/exploration; 

9) Lobbying for conservation action; 

10) Annual re-evaluation and revision of methods.

The main emphasis of UFP is on the monitoring and management of indicators of forest conservation and the sustainability of human natural resource use. Education and capacity building in local villages is central to this, as many of the local people were previously unaware of the value of forests for water and biodiversity prior to commencement of the project.

Practical activities of the project include assistance for villages in natural resource acquisition. The biggest current threats to the forest are cutting of small trees for poles and the gathering of firewood, hence most emphasis is placed on tree-planting and finding alternative sources of fuel. The forest is also routinely monitored for threats, wildlife populations and tree biodiversity/structure.

Outreach to the general public in both Tanzania and the UK has included classroom teaching, film, newspaper articles, internet and a pedal-powered cinema. A large number of peer-reviewed scientific publications have been produced.

Our mostly-Tanzanian team ensures that the project has a strong local connection. This allows us to integrate fully with the communities and managers. Ultimately the goal is to develop sufficient in-country income generation and capacity among villages and management authorities, such that forest conservation can continue without external support.

Main Achievements

UFP’s award-winning work has led to several achievements:

1) Over 4,000 Tanzanian children have been reached by education activities.

2) An estimated 10,000 villagers are now aware of fuel-efficient methods, with approximately 60% of households using these regularly. Tree nurseries established in four villages.

3) Experimentation with forest restoration methods has seen biodiversity and biomass increase in regenerating trees.

4) More than 9,000 tree seedlings have been donated to villagers for agroforestry.

5) Rangers from nearby reserves and villages assist with forest patrols and human-elephant conflict.

6) Ecological indicators show that forest remains intact. Trees and monkeys have shown slow declines but not below targets. A new species of tree was discovered in June 2011.

7) More than thirty peer-reviewed journal publications, seven book chapters and two books have been published since 2007 and several postgraduate projects have been facilitated.

8) Villager/conservationist feedback has been extremely positive. Memoranda of Understanding have been drafted with four villages.

Partners

UFP is an international collaboration operating under the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group and Reforest Africa. The project is led by Flamingo Land Ltd. (UK), with scientific direction from Dr. Andy Marshall’s Forest Restoration and Climate Experiment (FoRCE) and Centre for Integrated Research, Conservation and Learning (CIRCLE; www.circle-conservation.org) through the University of York (UK). The project runs in partnership with local villages and the Tanzania Forestry Service. Other major collaborators include the United Bank of Carbon, Kilombero District Forest Office, IUCN Sustain, Kilombero Sugar Company, African Wildlife Foundation and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute. We also receive external advice and assistance from academics at the University of Leeds (UK), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Pennsylvania State University (USA), and Cambridge University (UK).

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Forest Landscape Restoration Planning in Tanzania

                   

With support from the African Wildlife Foundation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Reforest Africa is in phase 1 of a project that trials and implements both active and passive restoration methods for the Udzungwa-Kilombero ecosystem. This will begin in lowland areas with a focus on the threatened high biodiversity forest of Magombera Conservation Area. A key output will be the development of a restoration plan for the Udzungwa-Kilombero ecosystem.

GOALS/OBJECTIVES

Aim: To restore forest biomass and biodiversity in Udzungwa-Kilombero ecosystem

Goal 1 – Restoration Capacity – To build capacity for moist forest restoration in Tanzania, with the following objectives:

–  Establish “Reforest Africa” (RA) as a non-governmental organisation (not-for-profit company) in Tanzania.

–  Recruit and train project staff and a research student.

–  Review previous and current restoration schemes in Tanzania and the broader tropics.

–  Develop methods for trialling and monitoring different forest restoration techniques.

Goal 2 – Passive Restoration – To develop methods for “passive” restoration of moist forest, with the following objectives:

–  Establish sample plots for restoration trials in the vicinity of Magombera Conservation Area.

–  Clear lianas, grass and cut firebreaks and monitor changes in tree growth and recruitment compared to unmanaged control plots.

Goal 3 – Active Restoration – To develop methods for “active” restoration of moist forest, with the following objectives:

–  Collate species information from the Udzungwa-Kilombero ecosystem to develop a provisional list of target tree and liana species for seed collection and planting.

–  Collect seeds and develop germination methods.

–  Grow seeds in nurseries for planting in the Magombera Conservation Area and adjacent villages.

–  Develop a provisional framework species list for the region for future reforestation schemes.

–  Develop a long-term protocol for lowland seed collection/storage/sale.

Goal 4 – Restoration Planning – To use findings from goals 1-3 to plan future forest restoration, with the following objectives:

–  Planning workshop involving all key partners and collaborators.

–  Communicate experimental findings to all key partners and collaborators.

–  Develop a plan for subsequent work in phases 2 and 3.

Phase 2 goals will then develop the work to continue monitoring progress such that the methods can be finalised for Magombera and other lowland regions, hence finalising recommendations and training for practitioners. Phases 2 and 3 will also expand the work to higher elevations in the region.

LOCATION/PROJECT AREA

The work will focus on the 26km2 Magombera Conservation Area and adjacent village and agricultural land. For the past 12 years Dr Andrew Marshall has been researching the ecology of this area because of its high value for biodiversity and continued habitat degradation from illegal activity (Marshall 2008). The area has no protected status, but Dr Marshall’s Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP) team has been carrying out interim conservation management through Memoranda of Understanding with nearby villages. Meanwhile the Tanzanian Government, partial landowner KSC and UFP (through TFCG) are reaching terms on the development of a new Magombera Nature Reserve to protect the area. Magombera is home to the IUCN Vulnerable Udzungwa red colobus monkey Procolobus gordonorum and the restricted range Udzungwa dwarf galago Galagoides zanzibaricus udzungwensis. Accordingly, it is among the top ten Priority Primate Areas in Tanzania, but the only one of these without protected status (Davenport et al. 2013). Recently the high profile discovery of the Magombera chameleon Kinyongia magomberae further added to the biodiversity value (Menegon et al. 2009). The forest also borders the Selous Game Reserve Important Bird Area and is home to the uncommon Pel’s fishing owl Scotopelia peli. It is also an occasional seasonal refuge for elephants, buffalo and hippopotamus of the adjacent Selous Game Reserve.

Magombera also has a tree community of exceptional conservation value with an entirely unique species composition, including Polyalthia verdcourtii, known only from two locations. The area is home to species typical of both the Udzungwa Mountains and Kilombero Valley. Hence to ensure a sufficient species pool for restoring degraded areas of Magombera Conservation Area and to help plans for a broader restoration strategy, our phase 1 focus also extends to the greater Udzungwa-Kilombero ecosystem (Annex 1), beginning with areas below 800m elevation. Phases 2-3 will address higher elevations up to 2,000m.

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