Developing collaborative management plan and sustainable mangrove restoration model in the Rufiji Delta, Tanzania

Type of implementing organization: 
Project(s) linked to: 
Country of implementation: 
Duration of project: 
2 years
Objectives of project: 

To nurture sustainable co-existence of the coupled human-mangrove ecosystem in Rufiji Delta and provide demonstrated lessons on community-based conservation of mangroves for up-scaling over the country and the WIO region at large.

Specific Objectives of Project:

Objective 1: To design and demonstrate a business model for sustainable community-based harvesting that incentivises community participation and responsibility in the Rufiji Delta

Objective 2: To develop and demonstrate a model for sustainable community-based mangrove restoration for the Rufiji Delta.


Project Summary:

The Rufiji Delta hosts about 50,000 ha (50% of the country coverage) of mangroves in Tanzania, constituting an integral component of livelihoods of the communities who have settled within and around the delta for generations. The delta presents a complex human-natural system where communities benefit from extractive use and conversion of mangroves and associated resources to sustain livelihoods. However, traditional dependence on mangroves and associated resources exposes them to degradation and habitat loss. While the state virtually governs the extractive exploitation of mangroves, this has been far from full and effective enforcement. The Rufiji Delta is exposed to continued conflicts between conservation and exploitation for socio-economic welfare. Governance issues related to community rights and access; the distribution of power, responsibilities, and benefits between government authorities and communities; and coordination between relevant central and local government actors are some of the pertinent drawbacks for sustainable conservation and management in the delta. This calls for a unique design of collaborative arrangements, including harvesting and restoration strategies, to incentivize communities and support co-existence while safeguarding the mangroves and ecosystem services.

The expected project outcome is for appropriate tools and methodologies to be used to manage mangrove habitats in Rufiji Delta to enhance their resilience and long-term sustainability. The expected project outputs are two-fold: i) Developed and demonstrated participatory mangrove harvesting scheme and guideline for the Rufiji Delta; and ii) Developed and demonstrated model of collaborative mangrove ecosystem restoration and sustainable utilization strategy in the Rufiji Delta. Project activities to realize these outputs include astakeholder analysis and mapping; community sensitization and awareness raising; analysis and mapping of land use/land cover change; validation of ecological, socio-economic and governance data; designation of community-based harvesting blocks and guideline; designated demonstration sites for community-based mangrove restoration; development of community agreements to support implementation of the harvesting and restoration scheme.

The project will take two years and is located in the active northern block of Rufiji Delta, where there is active and extensive cutting of mangroves and conversion into rice farms. It will encompass the communities of Mfisini, Kiomboni, Kikale, Nyamisati, Mchinga where more than 30,000 people live in and around the delta in permanent and temporary settlements. Project activities will be planned, coordinated and managed by the Institute of Marine Science (IMS) – University of Dar es Salaam, in partnership with Tanzania Forestry Services (TFS) and Kibiti District Council (KDC). Village Councils will be executing agencies of the day-to-day operations through their Village Natural Resource Committees (VNRCs). A technical project team will be constituted comprising of five technical expert members from IMS, two TFS staff and two KDC staff. This project implementation design provides full opportunity for capacity development to TFS, KDC and communities as a measure of to ensure sustainability.


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