The role of on-farm trees as an adaptation strategy to climate change effects around Mkingu Nature Forest Reserve in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania

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A study was conducted to investigate the role of on-farm tree as a long-term and sustainable adaptation strategy to climatic stresses in eight villages around Mkingu Nature Forest Reserve (MkNFR) in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. Specifically, the effects of climate change to peoples’ livelihoods and the role of onfarm as an adaptation to the climate change effects were assessed. The role of existing on-farm trees as an adaptation to climate change effects was also investigated. Data was collected using household questionnaire surveys, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), key informant interviews, tree stocking assessment on-farms and direct field observations. Temperature and rainfall data for the past 30 years were obtained from Mtibwa Sugar Company Weather Station. Results showed that the majority (92%) of the respondents were mainly engaged in farming and/or involved in various other economic activities such as livestock keeping, fishing, trading of forest products and petty business. CRiSTAL model results revealed that the main effects of climate change on peoples’ livelihoods include decreased yield of agricultural crops, availability of fuelwood and increase in human diseases and natural disasters. Seventy percent of the respondents reported to rely on on-farm trees as an adaptation to climate change effects in the area. About 76% of the respondents in the area planted trees in their farms for this purpose. It was further learnt that people living around the reserve also used crop diversification, irrigation, fishing and petty business were as adaptation strategies to the. Results also indicate that adaptation to climate change is constrained by several factors such as lack of information and funds and shortage of water for irrigation in the study area. Findings of the study suggest the need for greater investment in local communities’ education and improved institutional set up for climate change adaptation to improve their livelihoods.


Tanzania Journal of Forestry and Nature Conservation 2016, Vol. 86(1)


On-farm, Trees, Climate change, Climate change adaptation, Mkingu Nature Forest Reserve