World Wildlife Day: Living in harmony with nature

TODAY the world marks the World Wildlife Day (WWD). Get to know how USAID promote living in harmony with nature concept in Tanzania The United Nations (UN) WWD is celebrated every year on 3rd March to recognize the unique roles and contributions of wildlife to people and the planet.

The WWD2024 theme is ‘Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation’. It is pertinent on this day and the coming once to ponder important issues regarding value of forests and wild animals, and importantly on the whole theme of living in harmony with nature. For ages, people and nature have interacted very harmoniously.

From nature people obtains food, fi rewood for cooking and warming, water, medicines, sources of wonder and aspirations, clean air, rainfall formation, control of fl oods, among other many benefi ts.

The harmonious existence between people and nature is increasingly becoming a challenge. For instance, Human Wildlife Confl icts (HWC) is one of the major challenges affecting the livelihoods of rural communities adjacent protected areas.

Incidences of HWC are highly pronounced in areas where human activities overlap with areas where wildlife move, including wildlife corridors and dispersal areas. HWCs are causingloss of human life, injuries, crop raiding, and destruction of water infrastructure to mention some.

This has resulted in increased negative perception and attitudes toward wildlife by the communities, affecting wildlife through retaliatory killings and injuries to the animals.

Deforestations and forest degradation are also increasing due to increased demand for forest products and expansion of farm plots and settlements. Living in harmony with nature takes different approaches in sustainable management of natural resource.

It refers to when human and nature holistically and amicably coexists. USAID through the USAID-Tuhifadhi Maliasili (Preserve Natural Resources) project, is collaborating with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) specifi cally the Wildlife Division (WD) and other partners to support biodiversity conservation and sustainable community projects to enhance human-wildlife coexistence and contribute to the overall 2050 Vision for Biodiversity with a theme on ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’.

Around Amani and Nilo Nature Forests Reserves, the USAID-Tuhifadhi Maliasili Project is working with GFP Organic Limited to promote organic spice farming to reduce deforestation and link certifi ed spices farmers to reliable local and international markets. Sustainable spice farming require forest covers.

No forests, no sustainable spice farming, and no spice businesses and income from spices. The USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili project in partnership with GFP Organics Limited to raise awareness and promote long-lasting solutions for villagers around Amani – Nilo Forest corridor in Muheza District to peacefully coexist with their forest.

Apart from spice farming, forests are the only major source of water required for various uses in Muheza District and Tanga City.

The Amani-Nilo forests are also among the major tourist attractions in Tanzania and thus sources of income at the local, districts and national GDP.

Through the USAID-Tuhifadhi Maliasili Project, GFP organics is training farmers on soil and water conservation techniques to combat soil erosion, how to prepare spice farms and tree nurseries in accordance with organic farming principles, planting water use friendly tree species recommended for agroforestry practices, beekeeping to increase pollinators and increase crop production and income, among other lessons.

The USAID-Tuhifadhi Maliasili Project is promoting sustainable organic spice farming to reduce unsustainable farming practices which have been causing deforestation and loss of biodiversity in the East Usambara Mountains, which is part of a network of global biodiversity rich areas-hotspots (the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot).

Among the farmers trained by GFP Organics Limited is Ramadhan Kaniki, a beneficiary of the project, who explains that “before USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili trained us on organic spice farming, I used chemicals such as industrial fertilizer and pesticides on my farm. I came to learn that this was not a good practice because it has negative impact on environment.

Ramadhani also admits that he didn’t know that insects were important in pollinating. Through the training, spice farmers were imparted with knowledge on how to establish and manage terrace bunds and ditches along the contour to prevent water and soil loss while providing more suitable conditions for spices to grow.

“Over the past years, I started experiencing a drop down of harvests, this was caused by decreasing in number of insects and other micro-organisms in the soil, soil fertility, and soil erosion.

After applying good technics, I can see the soils is becoming rich, no more soil erosion, and insects are coming back for pollination,” he unveiled.

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