Charcoal production and its implications on sustainability of community-based forest management. A case of Mbangala village land forest reserve, Songwe district

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Mbangala Village Land Forest Reserve is a productive forest under Community Based Forest Management being managed by the Mbangala Village Council. The forest reserve was established in 2010, at Songwe District in Songwe Region. Sustainable charcoal production in Songwe District has not received a systematic research assessment. To what extent the so called sustainable charcoal production adheres to sustainability principle is not clear. The aim of this study was to assess charcoal production under Community Based Forest Management and its implications to sustainability of forest resources in Mbangala village land forest reserve. Sixty sample plots each with an area of 0.071 ha was systematically established in 6 transect. Socio-economic data were collected by interviewing charcoal makers and key informants using structured questionnaire, focus group discussion, informal discussion and field observations. Microsoft Excel software was used to analyse quantitative data to generate stand parameters, SPSS was used to analyse qualitative data. A total of 78 woody species belonging to 30 families were identified, compared with 122 species belonging to 46 families in other forest in same district. Tree stocking was 297 stems ha–1 while basal area and volume was 5.2m2ha–1 and 51.15m3ha–1 respectively. NAFORMA report tree stocking of 954 stems ha–1, basal area of 8.9m2ha–1 and woody volume of 75.4m3ha–1 on Chunya/Songwe district. On average there were 12 201 stems ha-1 of regenerants. The Shannon Wierner (3.29) and Simpson (0.064) indices were reasonably average. Charcoal makers accrued high income (between TZS 600 000 to 3 million) from charcoal harvesting compared to other economic activities. Agriculture and petty business (generate income between one TZS 100 000 to 900 000). Revenue from CBFM were used to build Village office, Village Executive office resident, 2 teachers house in village primary school, one classroom as well as teachers office. Compliance of the community to laws and regulations are generally very low, which endanger the existence of Village Land Forest Reserve. Result shows that harvested wood volume was 241 884.04 m3 equal to 48 376 m3 per year. This mean harvestable volume in each year is 17 times more than it required. The study concludes that, although tree species richness and diversity are on average high, the reserve has been affected by charcoal harvesting and other human activities, because stocking level were high compared to obtained results. Thus this study recommends the urgent need for appropriate and efficient management strategies to ensure regeneration, so that the remaining woodlands continue to supply charcoal to Mbeya city and other urban areas and deriving other goods and services.


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Charcoal production, Implications, Sustainability, Community-based forest management, CBFM, Forest reserve, Mbangala village land, Songwe district