Species utilisation preferences and resource potential of miombo woodlands : a case of selected villages in Tabora, Tanzania

Mbwambo, Lawrence Richard (2000-03)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Miombo woodland occupies the greater portion of the Zambezian phytoregion where communities derive products and services for their livelihood. The managers of these resources have for many years neglected these crucial needs, which has important implications for silvicultural systems and management interventions. The overall objective of this study was to document the miombo species utilisation preferences by local communities in Tabora, Tanzania. This information was obtained using individual interviews and village meetings. A simple line transect inventory survey was carried out to assess the miombo resources adjacent to the studied villages. The villagers in Tabora have knowledge of the importance of their woodland resources and put different species to different uses, with some overlap where a species has multiple uses. The surveyed villages differ in the utilisation of miombo resources, where the choice and quantities used depend on their proximity to urban areas. There is strong preference for suitable species for building poles and due to scarcity some people now use mud bricks for house construction. Suitable timber tree species are scarce in the Urumwa Forest Reserve and now low quality species such as Sterculia quinqueloba are used. For firewood live trees are cut and dried, however any combustible material is used. Not surprisingly the community's use priorities differ from the management priorities of the Forest Department. The use of miombo products for income generation in the studied villages is influenced by the proximity to urban areas and villagers do not perceive commercialisation of these products as depriving them of resources. The use of woodlands for cultural and religious purposes in Tabora, though important to the spiritual wellbeing of people, has declined over the years. The fact that the villagers choose particular miombo trees for different purposes is an indication of some kind of local knowledge and management. The Urumwa Forest Reserve is now an open access resource as villagers have depleted wood resources adjacent to their settlements. Awareness of the causes of miombo resource depletion in these villages is positively correlated with the proximity to urban areas and wood scarcity. Community participation in management of natural resources is still new in Tabora as few villagers were aware of the new government management interventions of the Urumwa woodlands, and awareness seems to be limited largely to males and leaders. There is active management of indigenous trees protected on farms for various uses and exotic tree-planting mainly for fruits and shade, is done around homesteads, but with no de jure rights of ownership. Tree planting in this area is severely hindered by drought, insects and termite attack to seedlings and this has made people depend entirely on the miombo for their wood requirements. The simple wood resource inventory survey carried out in this study has showed that the Urumwa miombo woodland is heavily utilised. This has resulted in poor tree diameter distribution and species composition. The smaller tree diameters recorded in the Urumwa Reserve indicate that the potential of this woodland for timber production is low compared to other products. The priority products documented in this study form base-line information for management plans and silvicultural systems suitable for sustainable management and utilisation of these woodlands in future.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Miombo bosveld beslaan die grootste gedeelte van die Zambezi vegetasiestreek waarin 'n groot menslike bevolking produkte en dienste uit hierdie bioom genereer om 'n bestaan te maak. Bestuurders van hierdie bronne verwaarloos al jare hierdie kritiese behoeftes, en dit het belangrike implikasies vir boskundige sisteme en bestuurstussentredes. Die hoofdoel van hierdie studie was om die miombo spesiesbenutting-voorkeure van plaaslike gemeenskappe in Tabora, Tanzanië te bepaal. Inligting is bekom deur individuele onderhoude en dorpsvergaderings. 'n Eenvoudige lyn-transek opname is uitgevoer om die miombo-bronne langs die bestudeerde dorpies te bepaal. Die dorpsbewoners in Tabora dra kennis van die belangrikheid van hul bosveld bronne en gebruik verskillende spesies vir verskillende doele, met oorvleuling waar spesies meervoudige gebruike het. Die dorpies wat ondersoek is verskil in die benutting van miombo bronne waar die keuses en kwantiteite wat gebruik word bepaal word deur die nabyheid aan stedelike gebiede. Daar is 'n sterk voorkeur vir spesies geskik vir boupale en as gevolg van skaarste van die spesies gebruik sommige inwoners nou klei bakstene vir huiskonstruksie. Geskikte spesies vir die produksie van hout is skaars in die Urumwa Forest Reserve en lae kwaliteit spesies soos Sterculia quinqueloba word gebruik. Lewende bome word gekap en gedroog vir brandhout alhoewel enige brandbare materiaalook gebruik word. Dit is nie verbasend dat die gemeenskap se gebruiksprioriteite verskil van die bestuurs-prioritiete van die Departement Bosbou nie. Die gebruik van miombo-produkte vir inkomste-generasie in die bestudeerde dorpies word beinvloed deur die nabyheid aan stedelike gebiede en dorpsbewoners beskou nie dat die kommersialisering van sulke produkte hul van hulpbronne ontneem nie. Die gebruik van bosveld vir kulturele en godsdienstige doeleindes in Tabora, wat belangrik is vir die geestelike gesondheid van die inwoners, het oor die jare afgeneem. Die feit dat dorpsbewoners besondere miombo-bome kies vir verskillende gebruike is 'n aanduiding van 'n mate van plaaslike kennis en bestuur. Die Urumwa Bosreserwe is nou 'n vrye toegang hulpbron omdat dorpsbewoners houtbronne na aan hul dorpies uitgeput het. Bewustheid van die oorsake van die uitputting van miombo hulpbronne naby die dorpies is positief gekorreleerd met die nabyheid aan dorpsgebiede en houtskaarste. Gemeenskapsdeelname by die bestuur van natuurlike hulpbronne is 'n nuwe konsep in Tabora omdat min dorpsbewoners bewus is van nuwe bestuursintredes deur die regering by die Urumwa bosveld en bewustheid blyk beperk te wees tot mans en leiers. Daar is aktiewe bestuur van inheemse bome wat vir spesefieke gebruike beskerm word op plase en uitheemse boomaanplantings, hoofsaaklik vir vrugte en skadu, word by huise gemaak. Daar is geen de jure regte in die geval nie. Boomaanplantings in die gebied word ernstig beperk deur droogte, insekte en termietaanvalle op saailinge en dit veroorsaak dat mense uitsluitlik op miombo staat maak vir hul houtbehoeftes. Die eenvoudige houthulpbron-opname wat in die studie onderneem is het bewys dat die Urumwa miombo bosveld strafbenut word en dat daar geen balans tussen aanwas en hout benutting is nie. Dit veroorsaak swak boomdeursnit-verspreiding en spesies samestelling. Die kleiner boomdeursnitte wat in die Urumwa Bosreserwe aangeteken is dui daarop dat die potensiaal van hierdie bosveld vir houtproduksie laag is en slegs beperk is tot ander produkte. Die voorkeur-produkte wat in hierdie studie gedokumenteer is vorm kerninligting vir bestuursplanne en boskundige sisteme wat geskik sal wees vir die toekomstige volhoubare bestuur en benutting van hierdie bosvelde.

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