BOS+ on site visit in Selela, Tanzania

Mungere_grazingland_dryseason_flood.pngzaterdag 01 september 2018 10:03

"Without the forest, Selela would not be Selela anymore". That was the final word of a village meeting under the acacia where BOS+ was present.

The village of Selela is located in the reef valley east of Ngorongoro Conseration Area, near Mtowambu. In this region BOS+ has been working on sustainable forest management, forest restoration and agroforestry since October 2017. The landscape there is very poor. That is why BOS+ has started the project 'Forest for Sustainable Development' together with three Tanzanian partner organisations. The programme will last five years and is located in the Arusha region, more specifically in Monduli district.

The purpose of this visit was to review and discuss the progress of the programme with all stakeholders, partners and beneficiaries, to identify the challenges and to think together about the way forward.

"We are pleased with the results we have achieved in the short term. We note that the forest is recovering fairly quickly, that new sources are emerging and that the forest is back on the route of elephant migration. During the last rains, with the help of hundreds of children, teachers and the local population, we planted more than 18,000 trees on our school grounds, in our forest, in our fields and near our houses," says the village leader of Selela.

Both villages have actively participated in the development of their land-use plans; in the village there are clearly defined zones for living, places reserved for livestock, agricultural areas and zones for public services.

In addition to respecting the land-use plan, a group of 30 leaders is also committed to managing their forest reserve (1,400 ha) according to the national guidelines of Participative Forest Management. The big challenge is that herders do not allow their cattle in the forest or on the new plantations. For some groups it is unfortunately not yet entirely clear why they have to manage this forest according to clear agreements. We will therefore continue to focus on raising awareness among these 9,000 people.

Another obstacle: the lack of water pipes and water scarcity in schools, making it very difficult for some schools to water the trees sufficiently. Many children therefore come to school with handfuls of bottles filled with water - sometimes three times a week - to take care of the trees.

Within the 'Forest for Sustainable Development' programme, there is still a lot to be done in Selela in the coming months and years:

- In the coming months, the leaders of the 'natural resources' committees will map the forest, especially in view of the direct benefits the forest has for the local population. In addition, local leaders will be trained as forest managers.

- In three schools new seedlings will be grown and planted during the next rains.

- Teachers will be supported in environmental education so that children can gain insights into the importance of natural capital.

- The people are looking forward to using even more agroforestry; they plant trees as windbreaks and edge planting for their banana and corn fields. The seedbeds for mango, avocado and papaya are prepared because they want to enrich their agricultural system and their diet with fruit.


BOS+ looks back with satisfaction at the site visit in Selela. Together with the local Masai population we are proud that we can contribute to putting the forests back on the map. They are very unique green islands in a degraded landscape. It is a very valuable but at the same time extremely vulnerable ecosystem. Yet BOS+ is hopeful: the moment is there to turn the tide.

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