The impact of human activities on Tosamaganga forest resources in Iringa district, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study provides an assessment of the extent to which human activities have impacted forest resources resulting to their degradation and loss. The forests have decreased to the extent that the trees and building materials are not easily found in the forests. The study was prompted by the fact that human activities have a great influence on forests’ resource sustainability and degradation that ultimately affect people’s livelihoods. This study was conducted for the purpose of exploring and providing scientific information on the extent and magnitude of forest loss and degradation due to human activities. Specifically, the study aimed at achieving the following three objectives: first, to analyse human activities affecting the forest resources in the study area; second, to analyse the magnitude of forest degradation and loss; and third, to evaluate the strategies taken to control human activities which have negative impacts on the forest resources in the study area. The study adopted a cross sectional research design in which both qualitative and quantitative designs were employed. Structured questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions and observations techniques were used to collect primary data whereby 118 respondents were sampled and interviewed. Moreover, remote sensing technique was employed to obtain the satellite image of Tosamaganga forest cover for the years 1990, 2002 and 2013. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 20) was used to analyse the structured questionnaires whereas pragmatic content was used to analyse the information from interviews, observations and focus group discussions. Geographical Information Systems using Arc info 10 was used to analyse the satellite image to understand the extent and magnitude of forest loss and degradation. The findings from the study indicate that there is a loss of forests due to cultivation, settlement constructions and fuel wood production activities. This is due to inadequate sensitization and mobilization of people on forest resources management and conservation in Tosamaganga village. Also the findings indicate that the absence of alternative sources of energy in the study area influences the excessive use of the forest products; hence severe forest degradation and loss. This study recommends that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and other responsible stakeholders’ should aim at enhancing environmental education and awareness raising among communities to ensure that people are aware of the economic value of the goods and services they obtain from the environment, as well as the natural capacity of the environment that should not be exceeded and encourage attitudes that are compatible with sustainable natural resource management. The livelihoods of most communities in the study are depend on natural resources especially forest resources. It is therefore recommended to promote the development and utilization of alternative energy sources to reduce dependence of forest products. Inadequate stakeholder participation was one of the factors for forest loss in the area. Therefore effective engagement of the community is recommended as it empowers local communities to provide their support, commitment and a sense of ownership and responsibilities and thus complementing government’s efforts in the management of natural resources.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF SD418.3.T34K57)
Deforestation, Forest conservation, Human behavior, Iringa District, Tosamaganga forest resources, Tanzania
Kitindi, C. F (2015) The impact of human activities on Tosamaganga forest resources in Iringa district, Tanzania, Masters’ dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam