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Collaborative forest management: villages and government
Wily, L /


Describes how five communities have, over the last eighteen months, become the active guardians of a large miombo woodland in central Tanzania, a forest which was in danger of disappearing through uncontrolled wood extraction, shifting cultivation and settlement. The communities do this through a collaborative arrangement with government in which they are recognised not only as the prime users but as the controlling managers and potentially, owners of the forest, for as long as they protect the forest from damaging use or diminishment. Their main tools of management include village forest management plans, detailed rules concerning forest use, vigilant patrolling of the forest by village forest 'watchers', and the establishment of a monthly forum in which representatives from the five villages meet to discuss and resolve problems of mutual concern. This development is emerging as a practical and effective model of low-cost natural forest management in Tanzania, readily replicable in both public land and Reserved Forests. In sharing authority over the management and future of the forest, not just the right to use, the Mgori case represents a significant innovation, and one that goes considerable further than most joint forest management initiatives elsewhere in the developing world, where governments are increasingly willing to share forest products with local people and the burdens of day-to-day management activity, but not power, or ownership of the resource itself

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