Integrating biodiversity conservation and importance of corridors

INTEGRATING biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation into development programming is important because healthy ecosystems underpin human well-being and economic development.

Land use plan is essential from primary levels, because climate change has huge impact on wildlife and leads to species loss. Threats to biodiversity continue to increase as adverse impacts of climate change exacerbate, which are likely to affect certain species related to particular ecological aspects of individual taxa, necessitating a species-based management approach.

Mr Joseph Olila, Landscape Planning  and Biodiversity Specialist, USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili Project discloses that one of negative effects if proper plans are not put in place and used is ultimate water shortage.

He notes that land use planning should observe commitments for improved land governance, including respect, protect and strengthen the land rights of women and men living in poverty, recognize and protect the diverse tenure and production systems upon which people’s livelihoods depend.

Others are to respect and protect the inherent land and territorial rights of indigenous peoples, enable the role of local land users in territorial and ecosystem management and ensure that processes of decision-making over land are inclusive.

The expert noted that places that are known to hold water during dry seasons for large mammals no longer hold water in the said seasons.

“For instance, during the dry seasons in 2009 and 2015 water dependent animals especially hippopotamus and crocodiles were often found crowded in small and few remaining water ponds impairing their physiological functions and many times becoming easy target by poachers and predators,” he said.

Mr Olila was of the view that human-wildlife conflicts have become a common phenomenon to crop raiding, while wild animals roam around in search for pastures and water. The animals commonly involved in these conflicts, he said, are hippopotamus, elephants and buffaloes.

Biodiversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Speaking on levels of planning, Mr Olila mentioned them as village land use plan, joint village land use plans, participatory district land use framework plan, with a possibility for landscape planning, zonal/landscape land use framework and national land use framework plan.

Mr Olila said the biggest tragedies for biodiversity are growing human population – 1.25 billion people, conflicts and wars in different regions in Africa, climate change and seasonal variations, growing and unplanned development, industries and infrastructure, high levels of poverty and rampant unplanned land use change.

Climate change means a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

The experts also advise the public to avoid blocking wildlife corridors as they are important and widely used by animals that may endanger people’s lives if blocked and are a source of income to the locals.

The Private Sector Engagement Manager, USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili Activity, Dr Elikana Kalumanga says that ecologically the corridors are important as they provide habitat for plants and animals in human-dominated environments.

The wildlife corridors also are escaping route for diseases, fires, droughts, floods and  competition, among others. They are also helpful for cross-breeding; hence reduce inbreeding and genetic loss.

They are also pathways by animals undertaking a range of movements, including daily or regular movements, seasonal and migratory movements, dispersal movements, and range expansion.

Socially, the expert said, the corridors support other non-tourism livelihood activities, referring a case of Kwakuchinja Corridor that connects Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park. There are activities such as beekeeping, fishing in Lake Burunge, livestock keeping through rotational grazing on protected grazing land.

Dr Kalumanga said that economically, the wildlife corridors are areas for tourism investment, with a case of Kwakuchinja Corridor. Investments can be done in things like accommodation facilities, for example the Un Lodge En Afrique, Maramboi Tented Lodge, Lake Burunge Tented Lodge, Tarangire River Camp, Osupuko Tarangire Lodge and EBN Hunting Safaris Limited.

“About 200 people are employed in accommodation facilities at Kwakuchinja Corridor, there are also 19 souvenirs shops that sell different cultural products to tourists,” he said.

The expert added that 33,151 tourists visited Burunge Wildlife Management Area

(BWMA) in 2019 (8,020 residents and 25,131 non-resident tourists). Due to

Covid-19, only 10,919 tourists visited BWMA in 2020 (3,881 residents and 7,038

non-resident tourists).

As regards to the concept of connectivity, is used to describe how the spatial arrangement and the quality of elements in the landscape affect the movement of organisms among habitat patches.

A landscape or local area with high connectivity is one in which individuals of a particular species can move freely between suitable habitats, such as favoured types of vegetation for foraging, or different habitats required for foraging and shelter.

There are different types of wildlife corridors; natural wildlife corridors that are non-linear and man-made (underpass) – infrastructure development, for example Nyerere Selous – Udzungwa.

JET Executive Director, Mr John Chikomo said the training was building on training conducted in FY22, adding that journalists were empowered to have the right knowledge, skills, and attitude to be able to conduct investigative reporting on biodiversity conservation, combating wildlife crime, and climate change issues.

He noted that the training would fill in the gap between the desired performance and the current performance. The activity was under the Project Name: Media and Journalism Training on Tuhifadhi Maliasili Activity.

The director mentioned objectives of the teaching as to see journalists have sufficient knowledge of corridor conservation issues, particularly those pertaining to wildlife connectivity, marine and forest conservation, trafficking and poaching, and the promotion of wildlife conservation and tourism.

A wildlife corridor, habitat corridor, or green corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures such as roads, development, or logging.

This allows an exchange of individuals between populations, which may help prevent the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity, via genetic drift,  that often occur within isolated populations. Corridors may also help facilitate the re-establishment of populations that have been reduced or eliminated due to random events such as fires or disease.

This may potentially moderate some of the worst effects of habitat fragmentation, wherein urbanization can split up habitat areas, causing animals to lose both their natural habitat and the ability to move between regions to use all of the resources they need to survive. Habitat fragmentation due to human development is an ever-increasing threat to biodiversity, and habitat corridors are a possible mitigation.

Experts also have advised the public to avoid blocking wildlife corridors as they are important and widely used by animals that may endanger people’s lives if blocked and are a source of income to the locals.

The Private Sector Engagement Manager, USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili Activity, Dr Elikana Kalumanga said in Bagamoyo recently that ecologically the corridors are important in that they provide habitat for plants and animals in human-dominated environments.

The wildlife corridors also are escaping route for diseases, fires, droughts, floods and  competition, among others. They are also helpful for cross-breeding; hence reduce inbreeding and genetic loss.

They are also pathways by animals undertaking a range of movements, including daily or regular movements, seasonal and migratory movements, dispersal movements, and range expansion.

Dr Kalumanga was addressing journalists at a two-day refresher and master training classes that was coordinated by the Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) and funded by USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili Activity.

Socially, the expert said, the corridors support other non-tourism livelihood activities, referring a case of Kwakuchinja Corridor that connects Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park. There are activities such as beekeeping, fishing in Lake Burunge, livestock keeping through rotational grazing on protected grazing land.

Dr Kalumanga said that economically, the wildlife corridors are areas for tourism investment, with a case of Kwakuchinja Corridor. Investments can be done in things like accommodation facilities, for example the Un Lodge En Afrique, Maramboi Tented Lodge, Lake Burunge Tented Lodge, Tarangire River Camp, Osupuko Tarangire Lodge and EBN Hunting Safaris Limited.

“About 200 people are employed in accommodation facilities at Kwakuchinja Corridor, there are also 19 souvenirs shops that sell different cultural products to tourists,” he said.

The expert added that 33,151 tourists visited Burunge Wildlife Management Area

(BWMA) in 2019 (8,020 residents and 25,131 non-resident tourists). Due to

Covid-19, only 10,919 tourists visited BWMA in 2020 (3,881 residents and 7,038

non-resident tourists).

As regards to the concept of connectivity, is used to describe how the spatial arrangement and the quality of elements in the landscape affect the movement of organisms among habitat patches.

A landscape or local area with high connectivity is one in which individuals of a particular species can move freely between suitable habitats, such as favoured types of vegetation for foraging, or different habitats required for foraging and shelter.

There are different types of wildlife corridors; natural wildlife corridors that are non-linear and man-made (underpass) – infrastructure development, for example Nyerere Selous – Udzungwa.

JET Executive Director, Mr John Chikomo said the training was building on training conducted in FY22, adding that journalists were empowered to have the right knowledge, skills, and attitude to be able to conduct investigative reporting on biodiversity conservation, combating wildlife crime, and climate change issues.

He noted that the training would fill in the gap between the desired performance and the current performance. The activity was under the Project Name: Media and Journalism Training on Tuhifadhi Maliasili Activity.

The director mentioned objectives of the teaching as to see journalists have sufficient knowledge of corridor conservation issues, particularly those pertaining to wildlife connectivity, marine and forest conservation, trafficking and poaching, and the promotion of wildlife conservation and tourism.

A wildlife corridor, habitat corridor, or green corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures such as roads, development, or logging.

This allows an exchange of individuals between populations, which may help prevent the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity, via genetic drift,  that often occur within isolated populations. Corridors may also help facilitate the re-establishment of populations that have been reduced or eliminated due to random events such as fires or disease.

This may potentially moderate some of the worst effects of habitat fragmentation, wherein urbanization can split up habitat areas, causing animals to lose both their natural habitat and the ability to move between regions to use all of the resources they need to survive. Habitat fragmentation due to human development is an ever-increasing threat to biodiversity, and habitat corridors are a possible mitigation.

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