Issues on the extended National Park of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Tanzania Pole Pole Club's grappling with them

Lost Forests of Inhabitants

Representatives of 39 villages to discuss the issue of the National Park
Representatives of 39 villages to discuss the issue of the National Park

In Mt. Kilimanjaro having been designated as a World Heritage Site, approximately 30% of forests are said to have been lost in the past 100 years, and such trend has still continued today. Partly due to the pressure on the forestry conservation from the world, the Tanzanian Government had embarked on a countermeasure for it and had assumed that 'the main culprit behind deforestation' had been local residents. In 2005, the Government forced through incorporation of the 'half-mile forest strip' (HMFS) being forests of buffer zones to have supported the livelihood of them into the National Park by eliminating them from forests.

However, Tanzania Pole Pole Club has opposed this policy and has been requesting to lift the designation of the HMFS as the National Park for the following reasons.

(1) Is the main source of deforestation local residents?
 The areas where forests within the HMFS had widely been lost at present coincide almost with the areas of commercial logging for plantations by the Government. This is because the Government had not replanted trees after logging. However, the Government had placed the blame on local residents for deforestation and had eliminated them from the HMFS on the grounds of forestry conservation. For this reason, incorporation of the HMFS into the National Park can be said to be completely irrational as an official policy. Nevertheless, local residents have grappled with tree planting in order to recover forests on the HMFS having been bare.

(2) Who had conserved and can conserve forests?
 Studies on forests of Mt. Kilimanjaro have pointed out that the time when forests within the HMFS had been most conserved was the days for the management of forests to have been entrusted by local residents before independence of Tanzania. The HMFS had been allowed for local residents to utilize. It is obvious from satellite images that the HMFS with no plantations has been well preserved rather than that with plantations. Seen from this, it is proved that not only in the past but also in the present, the largest guardians of forests are local residents. Incorporation of it into the National Park can be said to be even equal to the measure to have curtailed guardians from forests rather than to have protected forests.

(3) The National Parks Law that no one can obey
 The National Parks Law cannot allow for local residents not only to use forestry resources but also to enter forests. However, as it does not mean that needs (for firewood, fodder, etc.) of residents disappear by the Law, they have no choice but to continue to enter forests for the purpose of maintaining their livelihood. While, the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority(KINAPA) to manages the National Park has conflicted violently with them being 'illegal intruders' and has launched the thorough elimination of them. However, as far as there are needs of residents, it will be impossible to eliminate them thoroughly, and the KINAPA sees this reality and begins to turn a blind eye partly to criminal behaviors. At this point of time, the National Parks Law has lost its force. It is obvious to be in an error that forests are left under the Law with which no one will be able to comply, and it is not likely that forests will be conserved by it.

For the realization of new conservation and management of forests by local resident initiatives on the Mt. Kilimanjaro

The incorporation of the HMFS into the National Park is unable to conserve forests and is the measure only to afflict the people. The Club has worked on the Government that removes the HMFS from the National Park, creates a new mechanism to conserve and manage forest by local resident initiatives and legislates such mechanism. And also, the Club has cooperated with 39 villages along forests having been incorporated into the National Park towards the realization of it. To be more precise, the Club has sought to realize it by following processes.

(1) To remove the HMFS from the incorporation of the National Park
   (talks with the District, Region, Central Government and
   Members of Parliament).
(2) To build a mechanism of forestry management by community initiatives;
  @ Launching of a network organization to link 39 villages along forests
    incorporated into the National Park.
  A Building of a new framework and system to conserve and
    manage forests based on unified strategies of 39 villages.
  B Reviewing and enhancing of regulations to use forests in each village.
(3) To legislate a framework and system of above (2).

'What is right ?'
  〜Please extend a helping voice of the world to us in order to
    preserve the forest of Mt. Kilimanjaro ! 〜"
Aiming at community initiative forest management
  〜Who can save the forest of Mt. Kilimanjaro ? 〜

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