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The Rufiji Delta Mangroves – Conservation with or without people?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

To sustain and develop natural resource use, including local food provisioning, is often at odds with ambitions to conserve valuable ecosystems. In the state-owned Rufiji Delta Mangrove forest reserve, Tanzania, the presence of registered villages with land certificates is a source of friction between the government and the Delta communities. We have analysed the government’s conservation ambitions and the local land use situation from a land sparing–land sharing perspective. In addition, we have compared the context of the Rufiji Delta with other case studies where conservation with sustainable development has been tried, to analyse the potential for joint conservation efforts by the Delta communities and the government. Currently, the land use within and in the vicinity of the Rufiji mangroves, constitutes a non-formalised land sharing system. However, the government ambitions are to protect the entire mangrove ecosystem from human activities, i.e. a land sparing approach that cannot be effectuated without massive evictions. The government perceives local communities as intruders degrading the mangroves, while the local communities are highly suspicious of the government’s conservation intentions. A narrow ecosystem approachto conservation hinders understanding between the two stakeholders, and may prove to be inadequate to explain and allow for natural ecosystem dynamics. Current Tanzanian participatory approaches towards forest conservation cannot be implemented without being modified to accommodate the specific nature of the Rufiji Delta. Community Based Forest Management is practiced on village land and not applicable to state-owned forests. Joint Forest Management involves local communities in the management of a state forest but people reside outside the forest, which is contrary to the situation in the Rufiji Delta. A new participatory approach that removes land tenure uncertainty must be devised if conservation with sustainable development is to be achieved in the Rufiji Delta. Opportunities for successful conservation will increase by applying a wider landscape approach.

National Category
Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128041OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-128041DiVA: diva2:912243
Available from: 2016-03-16 Created: 2016-03-16 Last updated: 2016-03-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Causes and Perceptions of Environmental Change in the Mangroves of Rufiji Delta, Tanzania: Implications for Sustainable Livelihood and Conservation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Causes and Perceptions of Environmental Change in the Mangroves of Rufiji Delta, Tanzania: Implications for Sustainable Livelihood and Conservation
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mangroves are ecosystems with enormous ecological importance, supporting both terrestrial and marine food webs. They provide ecosystem services (e.g. food, medicines, fuel, constructing material) to communities near and far. Despite their importance, mangrove areas are facing numerous threats. Based on neo-Malthusian narratives, population growth is an alleged main cause of mangrove degradation, especially in developing countries. This thesis investigates the Rufiji Delta mangroves, from several perspectives including: recent history, present condition, use of land and other resources, as well as actual and potential impacts of government policies and management on mangrove conservation and for the local communities. Of special interest is the examination of multiple, and often diverging, perceptions concerning these variables and processes. Both qualitative and quantitative methods have been used. Interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders. Analysis of census data (1957–2012), to ascertain population trends in the Delta, spans the pre- and post-Ujamaa villagization programme. Old maps were scanned and geo-referenced in GIS to compare administrative units between successive censuses. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery, spanning from 1994 to 2010, was explored for analysis of mangrove dynamics and stand structure. The analysis of population trends in the Delta revealed decreasing population in the South Delta and a low population increase in the North Delta, in comparison with neighbouring non-delta areas. This is contrary to the assumption by government authorities that the Ujamaa villagization programme instigated migration to the Delta which caused mangrove degradation. Spatio-temporal changes in mangrove area and land use, observed and confirmed by SAR imagery and field control, is part of the highly dynamic eco-hydrology and geomorphology of the delta ecosystem. While some areas have been converted to rice farms, other areas have gained in mangrove coverage. Overexploitation of mangroves occurs, primarily by external actors, and both local communities and representatives of government authorities ascribe this to lack of financial and human resources to enforce current laws and regulations. Ever since the Rufiji mangrove forest was declared as a forest reserve in 1898, it has been a legal quagmire, with legally established village land within a state forest where human habitation is prohibited by law. This thesis explores management approaches that will embrace conservation with sustainable development. That can only be achieved when local communities are legally recognized as inhabitants and important stakeholders in the conservation of the Delta. A conservation approach that removes land tenure uncertainty among the local communities and takes into consideration the dynamic nature of the Delta must be devised for the Rufiji mangroves.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 2016. 39 p.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 54
National Category
Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128074 (URN)978-91-7649-389-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-13, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-04-20 Created: 2016-03-17 Last updated: 2016-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Mwansasu, Simon L. A.Westerberg, Lars-OveDahlberg, Annika
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