Kigoma to Earn On Forest Conservation
COMMUNITIES in seven villages of Kigoma Rural district will early next year start earning money for protecting Masito-Ugalla forest reserve, which climate change scientists say is helping in the absorption of carbon dioxide and controlling global warming.
The villages benefit under a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) pilot project being executed by Jane Goodall Institute. The project will get up to 400,000 US dollars (over 600m/-) annually in direct and indirect payments.
The JGI REDD has recently conducted a survey in the piloted villages on the best approach that could be used to share the benefits, with a total of 958 people out of the 60,595 population in the seven villages sampled for interview on the subject, according to REDD Project Director at JGI Edwin Nssoko.
The seven villages- Ilagala, Karago, Kirando, Lyabusende, Sigunga, Songambele and Sunuka- have formed community based organizations in each of them coming together under an apex body called Jumuiya ya Watunza Msitu wa Masito (Juwamma). The villages will be receiving carbon credit payments through CBOJUWAMMA consortium.
CBO members from each village have been trained on how to control deforestation, monitor destructive human activities and entrepreneurial skills to abandon charcoal making and instead employ modern beekeeping practices.
"Communities will decide on how to use the money they get in developing their areas but each of the villages will get between 50 and 100 modern beehives, said Mr Nssoko, noting that payments are part of the pilot project that seeks to demonstrate that compensating rural communities that protect their forests is workable in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the JGI REDD Project, each village will come up with development project plan through which the money will be used with focus on participatory forest management plan. Some of the villages want to construct classrooms, dispensaries and teachers' houses.
It is likely that the REDD initiative will address ravaging poverty that is derailing global effort to address environmental challenges. Experts believe that the forthcoming Conference of Parties (COP17) scheduled for Durban, South Africa later this year will come out with viable solutions on carbon markets controversies which include barring forestry projects from getting CDM accreditation and thus qualify for commercial carbon trading.
Scientists argue that deforestation and forest fires in Tropical countries account for 17 per cent of carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere which has led to an increase in global warming, the trend that experts warn that if continues unchecked, temperatures could rise significantly within the next two to three decades.
JGI has received funding from Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam to help communities in some parts of the country learn the basics of forest management initiatives that incorporate tracking of carbon data and the sale of earned carbon credits.
The Norwegians have committed over 500m/- to Tanzania covering the next five years to help the country prepare for REDD implementation and benefit from carbon trading by 2013.
The REDD project covers 70,000 hectares of pristine area within Masito- Ugalla Ecosystem where the local communities and local government staff have been empowered through awareness creation, capacity building and training to manage and monitor forests and to sell carbon credits in the global market through REDD.