Assessing the determinants of forest change and their impacts on community livelihood in Ngezi area, Micheweni district, Pemba, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
The aim of this study was to assess the determinants of forest change and their impacts on the community livelihood in Ngezi Vumawimbi forest area, Pemba. To accomplish this, the study was conducted in ten villages namely Jiwemoja, Tondooni, Makangale, Kijiji, Mkia wa ngómbe, Kibatini, Gombani, K/kwa mmanda, Bandari kuu and K/Kipangani. A total of 219 respondents which is 18% of the entire population in the study area were selected as a sample to represent the entire population. To investigate the forest change in Ngezi Vumawimbi forest area, the study mainly employed the participatory approach using Participatory Mapping technique. Other data collection techniques involved were semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and field observation. The target groups included the forest communities living in and around Ngezi Vumawimbi forest as well as government forestry officials at both local and national levels. Both spatial and non-spatial techniques such as Microsoft Excel, SPSS and GIS were used to analyze the data while tables, graphs, charts, boxes and maps were used to present the findings. The results of this study show that socio-demographic factors such as household size, income, educational level, marriage and occupation have substantively influenced the occurrence of deforestation and forest degradation in Ngezi Vumawimbi area. In addition to that the study findings showed that increasing population, in-migration and poverty, low level of livelihood options, poor technology and low level of education continue to affect Ngezi Vumawimbi forest reserve. Furthermore, the study reveals that the local residents have recognized the negative change of Ngezi Vumawimbi forest. They described that large part of the forest have been replaced by houses, roads and agriculture. Alongside this, they understand that some of plant and animal species such as milicia, erthophloem, phonix leaves, chesi and wild pigs have become rare or almost extinct. This perception is also supported by a scientific tool like GIS which shows that Ngezi Vumawimbi forest reserve and forests surrounding it have drastically changed over the years due to encroachment from human activities, especially the western and southern areas of Ngezi Vumawimbi forest. The study further shows that deforestation and forest degradation are the major ecological problems in Ngezi Vumawimbi forest area. According to the community perceptions, the observed changes of the forest were attributed to both anthropogenic factors (unsustainable harvest of forest products, sand quarrying, declining of traditional system of managing forest and some of the illegal forest practices) and political factors such as land tenure and sectarian conflicts. Forest degradation and deforestation have negative socio-economic and cultural implications to the community livelihood in the study area. It has reduced availability of various forest products upon which local communities solely depends on it. These include; food, money, wood materials for house construction and cooking. The study puts the following conclusions; there is need for Ngezi areas to shift the forest management approach toward more local participatory management. The respondents require sound management decisions that are publicly acceptable, economically feasible and ecologically sustainable. In order to achieve the everlasting solution of Ngezi Vumawimbi forest, other intervention measures were also proposed. For example, areas for socio-economic and cultural activities such as agriculture, forest products, and road and conservation are adequately discussed and their ‘proper’ location proposed. The study believes that, this strategy will contribute greatly to poverty reduction, improve the community livelihood and sustainable conservation of Ngezi Vumawimbi forest reserve.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF SD418.3.Z36Z33)
Deforestation, Community development, Ngeza area, Micheweni district, Pemba, Tanzania
Zahor, Z, K (2014) Assessing the determinants of forest change and their impacts on community livelihood in Ngezi area, Micheweni district, Pemba, Tanzania, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.