Northern Tanzania’s mosaic of montane forest and savannah woodlands creates a wildlife corridor connecting the ecosystems of Mount Meru, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. At least 250,000 people and two million heads of livestock also call the region home. Ecological assessments in the area reveal severe degradation due to deforestation, soil erosion, overgrazing, and erratic rainfall patterns. Additionally, the local population faces poverty and malnutrition, complicated by gender discrimination and vulnerability to climate change.
Within the ‘EcoBoma II’ project, we aim to contribute to the conservation of the biodiversity in Arusha and Meru Districts in northern Tanzania by improving the engagement of local communities in the sustainable management of montane forest and woodlands in the biodiversity rich Arusha-Longido corridor.
Community-led conservation: An existing understaffed and under-equipped group of volunteer community members are in need of additional training and improved equipment to effectively patrol 15,000 hectares of forest and savannah, guaranteeing that conservation efforts are protected and illegal activities reduced. To achieve this goal, 20 ‘Forest Guardians’ will receive training to strengthen the conservation and the sustainable management of montane forest and woodlands in the Arusha-Longido corridor.
Women-led rangeland restoration: Sustainable rangeland management restores grazing opportunities for livestock and wildlife. 20 women will be trained as “Rangeland Guardians,” adding additional rangeland restoration skills to their existing knowledge of the environment. The women-led rangeland restoration team will oversee the removal of invasive species and reseeding of Indigenous grasses to restore unusable portions of the rangelands. The project will facilitate the allocation of non-productive rangelands to the women and will advocate for them to receive direct benefits from the restored areas —such as pasture for small stock and sale of grass.
Financial benefits & education: The project aims to achieve tangible financial benefits from simple environmental enterprises able to provide income from a healthy ecosystem. Beekeeping, a green enterprise of national priority, will be set up as a midscale enterprise run by Forest Guardians. A group of 10 newly trained community tour guides will also be able to offer quality guiding and a small portfolio of low-cost experiences to visitors, hosted by the renewed community-based camp of Mkuru. An accompanying education campaign in primary and secondary schools will highlight the link between rangeland health and human health, culminating in the nomination of 20 ‘mini’ Rangeland Guardians.
By improving the protection of the Arusha-Longido corridor, the intervention will alleviate poverty and increase the resilience of at least 20,000 people who depend on available natural resources for their survival.
Project area: Arusha-Longido corridor
Project duration: November 2021-April 2024
Funded by: Audemars Piguet Foundation
Partners: Istituto Oikos, Arusha & Meru District Councils