A charcoal kiln in Ulaya Mbuyuni Village using a more efficient kiln structure fitted with a chimney.
Photos: TFCG

11.12.2019

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Making forest-based enterprises part of community-based forest management can help communities maintain areas of forest within a multi-functional landscape. Our authors present a case study from Tanzania of communities integrating sustainable charcoal production into the management of their village forests. And they describe some of the strategies that can be used to influence stakeholders to adopt innovative models of forest management.

Demand for land, not trees, is the main driver of deforestation in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Although communities derive multiple benefits from forests, agriculture provides the foundation for rural economies. In the context of these competing demands for land, safeguarding forest values requires governance systems to be in place to retain areas of land as forest over the long term. Community-based forest management (CBFM) is one approach that has been widely adopted to retain community forests, including in Tanzania. However, financial sustainability has been a key challenge for CBFM. Revenues are needed both to pay for the direct costs of managing the forests and to balance the opportunity costs to communities of allocating land to natural forests, rather than agriculture or other land uses.

Charcoal: controversial, but indispensable

Charcoal is a controversial product in Tanzania. It is frequently blamed for widespread forest loss, although studies consistently show that agriculture supersedes charcoal in driving deforestation.

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