Forest communities earn revenues from conservation during Covid-19

By GR - 11. June 2020

Dar es Salaam - EVEN when the world struggles to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, continued efforts by forest communities in conserving natural woodlands have yield positive results after the villagers received 210,000,000/- Tanzania Shilling in revenues this month.

Carbon Tanzania, a forest conservation enterprise has paid the monies which were derived from the sale of carbon credits to 16 villages within the forest communities across three areas of Tanzania.

According to a statement from Carbon Tanzania, benefitted communities includes villages from Hadza hunter-gatherers of the Yaeda Valley, Makame wildlife management area and Ntakata mountains in western Tanzania.

Carbon Tanzania, one of Africa’s leading carbon project developers have injected the money to the communities at a time when the global pandemic caused by the outbreak of Coronavirus has made a big impact on many economic activities that usually provide livelihoods for Tanzanians.

The tourism industry has come to a halt, while the export of commodities, food and other goods has become difficult due to border restrictions.

The Hadza hunter-gatherers of the Yaeda Valley, in partnership with the village governments of Domanga, Mongo wa Mono and Yaeda Chini have been working with Carbon Tanzania for 10 years to protect their traditional homelands.

The villages have received 28m/- from carbon credits sold over the previous six months.

In recent years the revenues were used to paid village game scouts to patrol and protect the legally gazetted forest areas, to provide health care cover at the Haydom Lutheran hospital, and construction of a rural police post in Yaeda Chini.

The Makame wildlife management area which involves five villages in Kiteto district has received 62m/-. The villagers have set aside large areas of natural savannah to support the traditional lifestyle of the pastoralist Masai people of the area and to offer trophy hunting to commercial tourism companies.

“With the lack of tourism visits due to the pandemic outbreak, the generation of revenues from their forest conservation project with Carbon Tanzania has come at a critical time. After 3 years of planning and initial activities, the WMA has just received its first carbon revenues which will be invested in ongoing protection work and social development needs such as education and health,” the statement reads.

In the remote Ntakata mountains in western Tanzania, eight villages that have been working with Carbon Tanzania have received 65m/- sales of carbon credits from their project in the past six months.

The villagers are benefiting from the monitoring and reporting of their efforts to protect their legally designated Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFRs). They received their first payments in December 2019, and thanks to continuing interest from companies in the international carbon market to compensate communities that are committed to protecting natural forests.

The three carbon projects all rely on forest owning communities, with their village and district governments, taking responsibility for their own natural resource management.

This responsibility allows them to demonstrate effective and enduring forest management which means that Carbon Tanzania can certify the projects to international standards, thereby generating carbon credits.

The projects are planned to run for 30 years initially, so the activities and revenues generated will facilitate long term financial sustainability and strong governance mechanisms to develop in the communities, supporting local economies, livelihoods and environmental health.

While deforestation and land use change contributes approximately 20 percent of global carbon emissions, in Tanzania it contributes closer to 80 percent of the country’s total emissions.

Shifting agriculture conducted by migrant farmers is the main driver of deforestation in the country, threatening the existence of forest communities and Tanzania’s iconic wildlife.

Carbon offset programmes are about planting trees whereas Carbon Tanzania focuses on the benefits available by avoiding cutting down trees and avoiding tilling the soil.

The project is part of the global reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) framework.

Carbon Tanzania is a social enterprise that has overturned conventional landscape conservation in East Africa with its innovative, business approach to protecting forests and wildlife.

It empowers communities and local governments to earn money from their forest by generating certified forest carbon offsets which are sold on the voluntary carbon market.