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Situated on the East Coast of Africa, Tanzania is bordered by the Indian Ocean and three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria to the North, Lake Tanganyika to the West, and Lake Malawi to the South. Many Tanzanians obtain their livelihoods from these marine and fresh water fishery resources. There are also 83 million acres (33.5 million hectares) of forests and woodlands, 39 percent of which have been designated as forest reserves. The country's landscape varies greatly, from coastal plains to highlands. Key terrestrial ecoregions in Tanzania are the Central Zambezian Miombo Woodlands, Eastern Miombo Woodlands, Southern Acacia-Commisphora Bushlands and Thickets, and Zambezian Flooded Grasslands. Tanzania is especially renowned for its distinct wildlife. The country has over 20 species of primate, 34 antelope species, and a high concentration of megafauna in the grassland and open woodland habitats of the Serengeti and Maasai Steppe, located in the Northwest and Northeast of the country.

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Working for Healthy Watersheds in Tanzania
The US Forest Service (USFS) International Programs Office has been providing technical assistance on natural resource management issues in Tanzania since 2001 through a partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). The assistance provided by the USFS consisted of providing targeted assessments of key watersheds in the north of the country and assisting with land use planning activities. In 2006 the USAID/Tanzania mission began to partner directly with the USFS to expand the technical input of the agency in Tanzania. Working with USAID/TZ’s Environment and Natural Resources Team, the USFS is providing this assistance to implementing partners and Tanzanian natural resource management agencies under the umbrella of the mission’s objective of “biodiversity conserved in targeted landscapes through a livelihood driven approach”.

USAID’s implementing partners are working on four landscapes in Tanzania and across two cross-cutting themes to achieve this objective. These landscapes are the Tarangire/Manyara ecosystem (AWF lead partner), the Ugalla ecosystem ( Africare), the Greater Gombe ecosystem ( Jane Goodall Institute), and a Coastal ecosystem (Tanzania Coastal Management Partnership – a joint initiative between the National Environment Management Council, the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resource Center). Additionally, two groups addressing cross-cutting themes are working across landscapes; a Policy group ( WWF) and a Conservation Business group ( ACDI/VOCA). Targeted technical assistance support is being provided to each of these by the USFS. The key Tanzanian government agencies and bureaus with whom these partners and the USFS are collaborating include the Ministries of Lands, Tourism, Finance, Water, and Livestock, as well as the Tanzania National Parks Agency (TANAPA).

The expertise that the USFS is providing is assisting the USAID mission in achieving its Environment and Natural Resources Management Objective. Assistance is ongoing and is providing for improved water resource management, supporting the implementation of watershed management and threat mitigation measures, and for effective land use planning, including identifying range capacities and implementing sustainable land use and soil conservation practices. Additionally, the USFS will be helping the USAID/Tanzania mission by providing a set of scientific tools and modules for watershed and landscape level management, assisting in the identification of existing knowledge gaps, and in the identification of successful conservation business ventures.

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A) Watershed Assessment and Management Assistance in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem
The Lake Manyara watershed is one of two catchment basins that sustain the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem in northern Tanzania. It encompasses an area of 35,000 km 2, lying to the southeast of the Great Rift Valley escarpment. Dominated by East African Woodland Savannah, the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem provides critical habitat for aquatic fauna and birdlife. The region contains an exceptional number of birds, estimated at well over 380 species. Lake Manyara also provides habitat for resident and migratory wildlife including elephant, buffalo, lion, hippopotamus, impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, bushbuck, leopard, and baboon.

Much of the area's biodiversity is sustained by wetlands and other water sources in the area, making the Tarangire-Manyara water catchments and wetlands critical ecological components of the region. The landscape includes Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park (an internationally-recognized Biosphere Reserve), Maasai pastoralist community areas with a total population of about 350,000 Maasai, Manyara Ranch, Makuyuni National Service Training Grounds, Minjingu Phosphate Mine, and Mweka College Demonstration Area.

Land use changes and human activities in the Lake Manyara watershed are having profound impacts on ecosystem health and directly affecting the ecological and economic viability of this system. The health of the Lake Manyara watershed impacts wildlife conservation, National Parks, agricultural production, grazing regimes, and human livelihoods.

Assesments of the Lake Manyara and Tarangire River Watersheds
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) initiated a detailed assessment of the Lake Manyara and Tarangire River watersheds and asked the US Forest Service to work with them to outline a process by which local stakeholders and other collaborators can assess the condition of the watershed in order to develop management guidelines for the long-term viability of the systems. US Forest Service technical expertise has worked with the field based staff of the African Wildlife Foundation, local communities, and government officials in Tanzania to better understand the current state of these watersheds so as to ensure and conserve the many environmental services they provide to the area.

In August 2001, a Forest Service hydrologist and a soil scientist visited 3 of AWF’s African “Heartlands” in Kenya and Tanzania to identify the forest, soil and water resource problems. This assessment team provided the basis for future collaboration between the US Forest Service and the African Wildlife Foundation and the Tarangire River system and Lake Manyara watersheds were identified as conservation targets. The objective was to understand the specific characteristics of these hydrological systems such as precipitation levels, stream flow regime, water abstractions, cover conditions, channel/riparian conditions, and the relationship between local land use practices and these hydrological conditions.

The USFS continued to work with the African Wildlife Foundation to adapt a watershed assessment process used by the USFS in the United States to apply to the situation in East Africa. The process for conducting a watershed assessment has six steps which include: 1) characterization of the watershed; 2) identification of issues and key questions 3) description of current conditions; 4) description of reference conditions; 5) synthesis and interpretation of information; and 6) Recommendations.

Following the initial assessment mission, t wo Forest Service scientists and a specialist from International Programs staff collaborated with AWF staff to organize a Watershed Assessment Stakeholders Workshop in December 2002. The Workshop brought together 24 local stakeholders, including District Forest Officers, rural council members, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Wildlife Specialists, Tanzania National Park staff, and Tanzania Land Conservation Trust and Ministry staff. This workshop provided a forum whereby local partners were able to provide detailed information on problems affecting this watershed based on their extensive knowledge of the watershed. The major issues and critical threats to the Maasai-Steppe Heartland were identified so that future land-use planning, agricultural and livestock management, and the development and enforcement of water laws may be improved.

Continued Forest Service Assistance
In September 2004, in carrying on the collaboration with the African Wildlife Foundation, a team of USFS technical experts returned to the region to continue providing assistance in the management of the Tarangire – Manyara ecosystem. This team consisted of a hydrologist and a soil scientist who continued working on information gathering leading to characterization of current conditions in the watersheds and identifying issues and critical questions for the watershed assessment process.

Following this work, these two specialists joined together with a USFS wildlife manager and planner, who assisted in the development of a workshop on creating a strategic plan for the Manyara Ranch, the first acquisition of the Tanzania Land Conservation Trust located between Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks. Together the USFS team worked with primary Manyara Ranch stakeholders, providing them with the opportunity to offer their input on management objectives and activities and to build a common understanding of the planning process on the part of the ranch management team and the Steering Committee. The team also provided training sessions on management plan development for AWF, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and local community stakeholders.

September 2005 brought a return trip to the region by USFS technical experts. A hydrologist and soil scientist partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation to focus on identifying specific threats to the watersheds and mitigation strategies to address them. The USFS team analyzed the water management challenges facing the Ngorongoro Crater conservation area and assessed the importance of the Kolo Hills Forest Reserve as a catchment for the Tarangire River. Additional assistance was also provided to the Manyara Ranch for site-level strategic planning.

Expanding Assistance in the Ecosystem, The Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Crater and the Conservation Area that surrounds it is a World Heritage Site and one of the gems among Tanzania ’s many spectacular natural resources. Ngorongoro is also one of the largest tourist attractions and income generators in the country, and is home to several thousand Maasai pastoralists and their livestock. As human populations and visitors increase, as well as some of the wildlife populations, signs of strain on the ecosystem are beginning to show, including on water resources.

In 2006 a USFS hydrologist and forest ecologist conducted an analysis of the Conservation Area’s watershed and provided guidance on management of the crater’s water resources and the forests of the crater rim. This team provided recommendations to AWF and the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) on managing water use by local communities, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) staff and tourist lodges, and an assessment of the impact rising water consumption and effluent is having, and could have in the future, on the hydrology, vegetation and wildlife of the crater. This USFS team also recommended practical techniques for monitoring levels of water that are being drawn out of the system, as well as the impacts of effluent from tourist lodges, and they assessed the potential long term impacts of water being diverted away from the Lerai forest by lodges and the altered hydrology of the crater floor, and provided recommended solutions to mitigate these impacts. Finally, this team examined impacts on the forests of the Crater rim and recommended to AWF and the NCAA avenues for protecting the forest resources of the crater rim, taking into account the reality of local uses and the long term needs of local populations, and on the most feasible ways to monitor the state of this forest over the long term.

 Implementation of Recommendations from Watershed Assessments
Moving from assessment and recommendation stages, the USFS assisted AWF in 2006 in taking action on the implementation of some of the recommendations made in earlier assessment visits by the Forest Service. USFS forest management and social science experts examined the feasibility of implementing participatory forest management in the Tarangire River headwaters in Kondoa District; recommending a strategy for moving forward with implementing participatory forest management in the area; and identifying resource and assistance needs to support such a strategy. This team also identified activities that could be introduced in villages in the Tarangire River headwaters to relieve pressure on forest resources and provide alternative ways of meeting livelihood needs that are currently being met by forest products, and recommending a strategy for introducing and developing these activities. This team also held a one-day workshop with Kondoa District staff and others working in natural resource management in Kondoa District to

familiarize them with the participatory forest management process, assess their level of support for it, discuss how they think it should be implemented, identify what resources they need to move it forward, and solicit their ideas, knowledge, and experience with alternatives to current forest resource use practices that could relieve pressure on natural forests.

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B) Assessing Linkages between Watershed Health and Biodiversity in Saadani National Park
In 2007, the US Forest Service sent a team to northern Tanzania to provide technical assistance on an assessment of the interdependence of the Wami River and the ecosystems and biodiversity of Saadani National Park. T he USFS team helped design and carry out a rapid assessment of these linkages between the river and the park’s biodiversity and of the threats to water flow quality and quantity in the river itself. This work was performed in collaboration with the Tanzania Coastal Management Program (TCMP), a joint initiative between the National Environmental Management Council of Tanzania and the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resource Center, funded by the US Agency for International Development. The Forest Service team also provided insight and recommendations on future and more long term studies and monitoring activities which will be needed to effectively assess the health of the biodiversity and water resources of the Saadani NP.

The Wami River Basin (40,000 km2) includes the richly diverse Nguru forest reserve of the Eastern Arc Mountains, the Wami-Mbiki Wildlife Management Area, and Saadani National Park. Saadani is Tanzania ’s newest national park, East Africa ’s only combined terrestrial and coastal park, and the closest Park to the largest urban area in Tanzania, located just 80 miles north of Dar es Salaam. This proximity to a large urban center has lead to anticipation of great tourism potential for the new park, as well as concern for the future of its resources in the absence of careful planning for biodiversity. The Wami River is the only permanent source of fresh water for wildlife in the Saadani National Park, and during the dry season the diverse fauna of the Park concentrates along the margins of the river. As a result of drought over the last four years and increasing rates of water extraction, the flow of the Wami in both the wet and dry season has noticeably diminished—reducing the abundance of shrimp and other marine fish dependent on the fresh water flow to the estuary. If trends continue and biodiversity is not factored into planning, the Wami River may no longer flow during the dry season, with severe consequences for biodiversity and the livelihoods of local populations.

C) Fire Management in the Greater Gombe Ecosystem, Kigoma, Tanzania
In cooperation with the Jane Goodall Institute and its partners, the authors conducted a four-day training/workshop in fire ecology and management in Kigoma, Tanzania. Topics included landscape ecology, fire regimes and return intervals, fire-fighting organization (the incident command system), fire prevention (education), fire monitoring, fire suppression techniques, and developing a fire management plan. The training culminated with a field early (prescribed) burning exercise at Mgaraganza village.

During the workshop, breakout groups and continual review from the multi-agency and multidisciplinary participants was used to generate material for a fire management plan. This comprehensive 49-page plan accompanies this report. Although a draft, participants agreed it could be implemented immediately as a pilot, with results to be formally reviewed in one year’s time (i.e., in May or June 2009). The plan should be considered a dynamic document, to be revised as warranted by experience and new information.

This Fire Management Plan (FMP) is intended to guide the actions of the Jane Goodall Institute in implementing the goals of the Conservation Action Planning (CAP) process.

The CAP process is multi-disciplinary and multi-organizational, and hence reflects an integrated, peer-reviewed effort. Nevertheless, direction in this document is not binding on the villages, District government, TANAPA, or other partners, unless specifically negotiated and agreed on. Such negotiations are strongly recommended if the plan is to be effective.

Each of the goals in the FMP follows from direction in the Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for the Greater Gombe Ecosystem. Each goal is then followed by a series of objectives and action plans that lay out the steps and processes to be followed to reach that specific goal. Collectively, the goal of the FMP is not only to improve operational fire management, but also to further the community-building and ecological restoration goals of the CAP process.

In addition to establishing goals, objectives and specific action items, the FMP attempts to explain how the overall fire management effort needs to be organized as well as implemented in order to achieve desired results. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Landscape Perspective: Background and ecological information that describes historic versus current conditions in order to understand departure concepts and lay the groundwork for establishing guidelines for fire management strategies in the various vegetation zones.
  • Benefits to Stakeholders: A summary of benefits from the successful implementation of a fire management plan in the GGE.
  • Prevention: Information about the importance of prevention along with a list of target contacts and some key messages to consider when discussing prevention measures.
  • Pre-Suppression Management: A discussion of what is needed to plan, train, and prepare for fire suppression activities prior to their occurrence.
  • Fire Suppression Management: A summary of fire suppression actions that are needed to contain and control wildfire at minimum cost consistent with land and resource management objectives.

Please see USFS trip reports on FRAME:

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