Skip to main content

2011-02-24 | project

Protecting Peri-Urban forests and livelihoods: Spatial Enforcement Issues and Incentives for Community-Based Initiatives

This project stems from discussions with forest managers whose existing policies have not created the hoped-for incentives for locals to engage in enforcement of access restrictions by outsiders. This is particularly important for Kibaha’s forests because of their proximity to Dar es Salaam, a large city with high demand for charcoal and timber. Forest managers do not have mechanisms for influencing where local villagers harvest NTFPs; they also have little information on which to base their allocation of scarce patrol efforts.

Despite the introduction of participatory forest management (PFM) in many low-income countries, protecting these forests from over-exploitation whilst ensuring that nearby forest-dependent households’ livelihoods are not harmed by reduced access to forest resources remains a problem. In Kibaha’s forests in Tanzania, nearby communities that have in the past relied on the forests have lost access to important forest resources and have little incentive to stop more distant individuals and groups from degrading the forests. Forest officials have the incentive, but lack funds and appropriate enforcement strategies to protect the forests. As a consequence, nearby communities are worse off and the forests continue to be degraded. The key problem we therefore address is the issue of enforcing forest access restrictions in low-income countries in the context of limited property rights institutions, whilst reducing the negative impact on nearby communities.

The specific objectives of this research project are to improve forest managers’ abilities to control forest resource degradation through the development of spatially-oriented forest management policies; and to enhance the livelihoods of households living near to protected forests through the design of incentive systems that encourage these households to enforce access restrictions against outsiders whilst allowing them to benefit from improved forest management.

The resulting spatially-explicit policy recommendation will lead directly to improved forest management and to improved livelihoods of local people. First, spatial data on enforcement and illegal activities will identify priorities for enforcement/patrol patterns and will thereby improve resource protection. Second, the extraction analysis will generate spatial policy tools such as the location of permits for fuelwood extraction and government investments in local beekeeping. Such tools will enable policy makers and local communities to create incentives for rural people to enforce access restrictions on non-locals and will enable forest managers to more adequately protect particularly sensitive or vulnerable areas of the forest.

The project will be implemented in the forests in Kibaha district, Pwani Region, Tanzania, including the Ruvu North and Ruvu South Forest Reserves. These forests are near to large urban settlements and so face particular pressure from urban demands for charcoal. The research will be done in collaboration with Tanzania Forest Research Institute and the Ruvu Fuelwood Project.