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Forestry Support to the SULEDO Village Land Forest Reserve

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. The “Securing the Sustainability of LAMP Initiatives” Project is a post-programme phase of LAMP and aims at consolidating outcomes achieved in a 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. In particular, focus is placed on three initiatives, including 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 of Tanzania, is an area of dry 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 000ha is a Village Land Forest Reserve (VLFR). The population in the area is, according to the 2002 census, 24 189 and there are four ethnic groups in the area: 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 that could be accepted by all forest users; they were approved by the Kiteto District Council. The financial returns from the upcoming harvesting are expected to be rather substantial. A consultancy was carried out by ORGUT in July 2005 that looked into 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.

The assignment was carried out in Kiteto and in Dar es Salaam. The assignment was divided in three phases and comprised:
Phase I:

  • To meet with the immediate stakeholders in the SULEDO Forest Reserve (composed of nine villages with 167,416 ha of forest land), to identify and discuss the procedures for supervision and monitoring necessary to be carried out by the Zonal Environmental Committee (ZEC), or persons appointed by the ZEC, during the pilot harvesting.
  • To assist in the final write-up of the contract between SULEDO and the Harvester, to prepare the documents needed to describe systems to be used, such as calculations of volumes.
  • To propose what capacity building and other activities that are necessary to ensure that the harvesting is carried out according to the contract.

Phase II:

  • To support the ZEC and the communities in SULEDO in the implementation of the harvesting contract signed between the ZEC and the Harvester Silas Timber Company Ltd.
  • To assess and advise on the immediate and medium term capacity building needed for ZEC and other relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the contract and future forestry operations.
  • To assess the systems and processes developed and agreed on and if needed, develop them further or suggest additional ones.
  • To, as far as feasible at this stage, describe the future technical support needed.

Phase III:

  • Assess and evaluate the harvesting operations in relation to the signed contract and any additional agreements made between ZEC and the harvester.
  • Recommend any improvements and adjustments needed of the existing processes, systems, routines, trainings, procedures and documents for current and future harvesting developed.
  • Provide advice on future management of the SULEDO forest and inputs for a long-term harvesting plan.
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