Apply Knowledge Globally

Improving water and rangeland management in Tanzania


Gathering data to determine the water table in Loibor Siret, Dale Higgins (left) and Aric Johnson (right) work with village leaders to measure the depth of a borehole. Forest Service photo.

Dale Higgins, hydrologist on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, and Aric Johnson, range management specialist on the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, visited Tanzania in late June with International Programs office staff to work with local nonprofit organization Tanzania People & Wildlife. The Forest Service is providing technical support in hydrology and rangeland management to TPW and the Loibor Siret community in northeastern Tanzania.

TPW operates in the Maasai Steppe, a semi-arid landscape populated by pastoralists as well as the region’s iconic wildlife, such as lions, zebras and elephants. Access to ever-scarcer water resources and good forage for livestock drives the landscape-use patterns, with people, livestock and wildlife intermixing and sometimes conflicting. TPW works with communities to improve their livelihoods while also conserving wildlife through conservation incentives. Given the area’s water scarcity issues, TPW requested Forest Service support in understanding water dynamics and improving water and rangeland management techniques to meet the needs of people, livestock and wildlife.

The Forest Service continues to provide ongoing support and is cooperating with the Tanzanian partners to conduct a rapid assessment of water resources, establish a long-term water monitoring program and kick-start a watershed restoration plan with an emphasis on improved rangeland management.