Technical Assistance to the SULEDO Community Managed Forest
Technical Assistance was provided by ORGUT to the Land Management Programme (LAMP) for over a 16 year period in 4 districts of Tanzania until 2007. “Securing the Sustainability of LAMP Initiatives” is a post-programme phase of LAMP and aims at consolidating outcomes achieved in a limited number of sectors. This includes a structured results capturing, documentation and dissemination of best practices. The Project works within two main areas: (i) Following up and monitoring realities in the field concerning LAMP initiated activities as well as the decentralisation and Local Government Reform process currently underway; and (ii) Strengthening and revitalizing user groups within natural resource management. Particular focus is placed on three initiatives:
- Forest Management (in the Suledo Forest),
- Wildlife Management (the Burunge Wildlife Management Area) and
- Water Management (in eight selected water schemes in the four districts).
The SULEDO Forest in Kiteto District is a miombo woodland that has been under community management since the mid 1990s and is an officially gazetted Village Land Forest Reserve since 2007. The village area is 268 000 ha out of which 167 000 ha is a Village Land Forest Reserve (VLFR). The population in the area is, according to the 2002 census, 24 189 consisting of the four ethnic groups Maasai, Wanguu, Wakamba, and Wakaguru. Under the Technical Assistance provided by the Land Management Programme, ORGUT began working with the nine villages in the area to assist in the formulation of by-laws and prepare land use plans accepted by all forest users, which were ultimately approved by the Kiteto District Council. The financial returns from the upcoming harvesting are expected to be substantial. A consultancy was carried out by ORGUT in 2005 that assessed the technical aspects of commercial harvesting. The recommendations point out that the villages should start harvesting on a pilot basis, at a moderate rate, in order to gain experience from harvesting and management of the income from the forest. The revised Management Plan of 2008 therefore included a commercial harvesting plan.
The current ongoing review process of the National Forest Policy of Tanzania has as the objective to advise on the harmonisation and effective implementation of the Policy with a view to existing institutional and administrative conflicts related to use, access and management of the forest resource. In this context, the SULEDO forest provides unique experiences that the sector needs to reflect and initiate the changes necessary for a smooth implementation of the natural resources management legislation.