Landscape processes, resource use and conservation ideologies in the Rufiji Delta, Tanzania – An examination of population and degradation narratives
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Based on the Neo-Malthusian narrative, the Ujamaa villagization program that took place in Tanzania between 1967 and 1974 is alleged to have caused considerable degradation to the mangroves of the Rufiji Delta as people migrated to the Delta and cleared mangroves for rice cultivation. Using population data from the censuses of 1957 to 2012, we have examined the population trend in the Delta and its possible impact on the mangroves. The census period comprises the pre-Ujamaa and post-Ujamaa periods. Analysis of population trends in the South Delta reveals that the Ujamaa villagization program did not instigate migration to the South Delta and that population is decreasing rather than increasing. In the North Delta there was an increase in population possibly associated with the Ujamaa villagization program, but the population increase in neighboring, non-delta areas was considerably larger. The persistent neo-Malthusian narrative of population growth inevitably leading to mangrove degradation in the Rufiji Delta is thus refuted. Contrary to the assumed causes of environmental changes in the Delta, this study has shown that natural dynamics (changes in salinity, erosion and sedimentation) are responsible for the spatial/temporal changes that determines when and where rice is cultivated and when and where mangroves will thrive.
Research subject Physical Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128040OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-128040DiVA: diva2:912242