How can changes in land use and resource availability in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem be managed in such a way as to foster the wellbeing of local communities whilst safeguarding and promoting biodiversity conservation?
This is the initiation of a new Five-Rear Research Plan (5YRP) for our field center in northern Tanzania, the SFS Center for Wildlife Management Studies (CWMS), Tanzania, where a permanent program was established in 2010. The Moyo Hill Camp field station is located between Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania, and, thus, we focus our studies on the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem (TME). The area, part of the Northern Tourism Circuit of Tanzania, is key for wildlife conservation and tourism in Tanzania. SFS aims to understand the dynamics between natural resources and people in the area, with a particular focus on how this affects wildlife and livelihood of the local communities.
We aim to understand the dynamics between natural resources and people in the area, with a particular focus on how this affects wildlife and livelihood of the local communities.
While Northern Tanzania remains one of the world’s renowned wildlife areas, their conservation is facing immense challenges. The state protected areas are insufficient to conserve wildlife populations as the range of most species extend beyond the boundaries of the protected areas. Conservationists and scientists reckon that wildlife is declining in the unprotected, communal and private lands, and subsequently in the adjacent protected areas. Wildlife declines are attributed to poaching for bush meat, loss of habitat due to competing land uses such as agriculture and settlements, habitat degradation by domestic stock and humans, and hostility by the local people. While national earnings from tourism, driven by wildlife based enterprises in Tanzania continues to grow, tourism’s contribution to social-economic well- being of the local people (land owners adjacent to the park) is minimal. The origin of this problem is partly in the inadequate involvement of the local people in managing and tapping benefits of wildlife on their land due to policy. There is a dire need to understand the connection between livelihoods and habitat in the TME to enhance pro-active management of natural resources.
Through our research program, SFS-CWMS Tanzania aims to deepen our understanding of critical issues likely to influence the future of wildlife and natural resources conservation in the area. A stakeholder consultative process identified the following thematic areas of focus by SFS in the region: water use, quality and quantity assessments; maintaining wildlife habitats and connectivity; role of tourism in social-economic development; environmental degradation and its relationship with community social-economic well-being; and the status of wildlife and other biodiversity, in the protected areas and adjacent dispersal areas. It is hoped that information will help the parks and other stakeholders in the ecosystem manage their natural resources and become a catalyst to sustainable development in the TME.
The SFS-CWMS Tanzania research agenda is geared towards answering an overall case study question - How can changes in land use and resource availability in the TME be managed in such a way as to foster the wellbeing of local communities whilst safeguarding and promoting biodiversity conservation?
The research has three areas of focus
1. Human-dominated landscapes;
2. Lake Manyara National Park;
3. Manyara Ranch; and
4. Tarangire National Park
EXPECTED OUTCOMES AND BENEFICIARIES
Each project is designed with specific outputs to achieve short-term goals, perhaps in the form of technical recommendations to decision-makers and implementing agencies, reports or educational tools. Together with our partners we expect to achieve a set of medium- and long-term outcomes through our research training and outreach activities. These include the following:
The primary beneficiaries of the five-year research program are intended to be:
- Members of the local communities who are presently dependent on natural resources
- The governmental agencies responsible for protecting and conserving the natural ecosystems and natural resources, and for regulating, controlling and monitoring the human impact on these resources and ecosystems
- The local leaders of business, tourism, industry, education, public health, governance, etc. whose planning and decision making will be crucial to the economic and cultural stability and sustainability of the community
- SFS students
- The natural ecosystems in which we are situated
- Other organizations that are interested in the protection and conservation of the natural resources and the ecological health of the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem
PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
* Indicates SFS student, ^ indicates SFS intern or SAM
Glass* A., Prestridge* C., Gharat* Y., Ndibalema V. & Kioko J. 2012. Notes on birds of Seronera Area, in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Tanzanian Journal of Forest and Nature Conservation 82:107-116.
Kiffner, C., Ndibalema, V., & Kioko, J. 2013. Leopard (Panthera pardus) aggregation and interactions with Olive baboons (Papio anubis) in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology 51: 168-171.
Kioko, J., E. Zink*, M. Sawdy*, and C. Kiffner. 2013. Elephant (Loxodonta africana) demography and behavior in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem, Tanzania. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 43:44-51.Kiffner, C, J Kioko, B Kissui, C Painter*, M Serota*, C White*, and P Yager*. 2014. Inter-specific variation in large mammal responses to human observers along a conservation gradient in Northern Tanzania. Animal Conservation Online 24 April.