Stakeholders: community engagement in forest conservation up

Stakeholders: community engagement in forest conservation up

THERE has been an increase of public awareness over community engagement in forest conservation, stakeholders have acknowledged.

Forest conservation stakeholders noted recently that most members of communities living near the forests have been educated over benefits they could get from participatory forest conservation.

Among benefits, the participatory forest conservation has helped to bring gender parity to the extent that women in the country have started venturing and benefiting from opportunities arising from the forest produce, thus boosting socio-economic wellbeing.

“Citizens have increasingly been collaborating with the government and other private players in conserving forests. This is after being educated about several benefits and how to tame them,” said Mr Emmanuel Mroto, a researcher from Gender studies at the Sokoine University of Agriculture.

Mroto was speaking recently in Morogoro municipality on a research he co-authored in 12 regions after the Tanzania Forests Conservation Group (TFCG) has started implementing a project on the intervention of Community Based Forest Management.

He said the project has changed gender roles and brought about division of labor, which has caused women not only to earn a living, but also promoting inclusive economy in forest products and conservation activities.

“In this project, survey shows that women have ventured in trade like harvesting and selling timber, charcoal, firewood, honey and selling food to those working  in in forest related activities,  this is after addressing some taboos which were unfriendly to them,” he added.

For his part, TFCG’s Capacity building Officer Mr Simon Lugazo said that the initiatives made to promote sustainable forest conservation and gender inclusivity, focused on a number of things, which includes land access, control and ownership for women and men.

He said that forests are almost everywhere in Tanzania, what is being done is to ensure that conservation activities and the value chain of their products include all society members.

According to him, forest products have a long value chain from conserving, harvesting, storing, transporting and selling to consumers, where women are now standing out to grab opportunities.

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