The role of traditional institutions in the conservation of forest resources in East Usambara, Tanzania

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Taylor & Francis


The study investigated the role of traditional institutions in the conservation of the East Usambara forests in Tanzania. It revealed that there had been institutional changes in management of forests, which had a negative impact on forest conservation. However, the presence of traditional institutions, which included among others traditional healers, traditional leaders, traditional taboos, sacred species and sites, had active roles in conserving the forest. More than 90% of the respondents had retained indigenous tree species on their farms and around households, with an average of six trees per household. This strategy is influenced by socio-economic factors whereby respondent age had a significant positive influence on the number of trees retained by a household. The study concludes by pointing out that traditional institutions have active roles in conserving the forests, and recommends that various strategies must be combined, including the use of traditional institutions, in Conservation of forests. Studying tradition institutions will give us knowledge on how they operate and how they can be combined with other strategies in government, NGOs and even the private sector in conservation of the forests. Socio- economic factors must be taken into account in the management of natural resources.



Traditional institutions, Conservation, Forest resources, East Usambara