The assessment of vulnerability and adaptation of forests in Tanzania due to climate change: a Case of Kitulangalo Forest Reserve, Morogoro,

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
The potential impact of global climate change on forest distribution in Tanzania has been evaluated in this research. The main objective of the research was to assess the vulnerability and adaptation of the Tanzania forests to climate change, and to analyze the social, economic and the environmental impacts of climate change on the forestry sector. Specifically the research sought to identify the key factors of climate that may influence forest ecosystem; evaluate the susceptibility of different forest types and tree species of interest to climate change; assess the impacts of climate change on the socio-economic aspects of forests, for example, the impact on energy due to the fact that forest is the main source of energy in Tanzania; and evaluate the potential adaptation options and their effectiveness. An integrated approach which involved expert judgement, computer simulation and several General Circulation Models (GCMs) was used in this study. The expert judgement was done on the basis of available data and literature. Computer simulation of models was conducted at two levels of resolution, the first level covering the whole country using the Holdridge Life Zone Classification Model. At the second level, the study was narrowed to a specific area, Kitulangalo Forest Reserve in Morogoro, where the Forest Gap Model was applied. Different parameters of forest ecosystems, such as establishment, growth, productivity, survivorship and mortality were simulated and various adaptation measures were investigated.To understand the effects of the anticipated climate change on forest types and their tree species composition in Tanzania, the distribution of forest types and species composition in different agroecological areas were studied. These forest types and species compositions were then matched against their optimal rainfall regimes, temperature, and soil properties to establish the baseline forest types, their distribution and species composition at current climatic conditions lxCO ).Temperature and rainfall regimes were then simulated using GCMs to establish areas in which there were significant changes in climate with doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (2CO ). The simulated temperature and rainfall data were subsequently used in the Holdridge classification model to simulate the response of forests to climate change. It was assumed that in areas where climate change was significant, that is, at climate change conditions (2 x C02), the less tolerant types and species associations would be replaced by the more tolerant associations or complete replacement was assumed. The results of simulation of the Holdridge Classification Model revealed that across Tanzania most of the forests are projected to shift from Subtropical dry forest and Subtropical moist forest to Tropical very dry forest, Tropical dry forest and small areas of Tropical Moist forests. This projected shift in forest distribution is attributable to a future decline in precipitation patterns and an increase in ambient temperature. The results further show that the vegetation in Tanzania will suffer under drier conditions. Application of the Gap Model to Kitulangalo Forest Reserve, one of the areas predicted to experience significant impact due to climate was not possible due to technical problems. However, based on the qualitative assessment of available data, there are indications that climate change associated with disease and predation of seeds and seedlings, will cause changes in species composition and structure in Kitulangalo Forest Reserve as some species will fail to establish themselves. To rescue the Tanzania’s forests against the impacts of climate change some of the adaptation options have been proposed. These include things like proper implementation of the programmes and projects under the Tanzania Forest Action Plan (TFAP); declaring priority areas of natural forest for conservation; merging fragmented habitats; establishing and strengthening conservation; establishing gene banks and culture collections; and reforestation with drought and heat tolerance species. It was observed that the proposed adaptation measures should be carried out regardless of uncertainty of climate change models because they have positive impacts to the forest sector with or without climate change. KEY WORDS: Tanzania. Forest Ecosystems. Vulnerability. Adaptation. Climate Change
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QH543.T34.M4)
Forest microclimatology, Tanzania
Mwakifwamba, S M (1999), The assessment of vulnerability and adaptation of forests in Tanzania due to climate change: a Case of Kitulangalo Forest Reserve, Morogoro, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam