Biodiversity implications of AR in Tanzania

The second case study of an A/R CDM project is in two discrete areas of Tanzania where it establishes and manages forest plantations that will meet demand for high quality wood products from a sustainable managed forest, and is titled: 'Afforestation in grassland areas of Uchindile, Kilombero, Tanzania and Maplpana, Mufindi, Tanzania'. A Tanzanian subsidiary company of TreeFarms AS, of Norway, is financing and implementing the project. The project document is accessible online (Tüv Süd Group, 2008).

Some 13 500 hectares of degraded land will be reforested, mainly with exotics (Eucalyptus spp. and Pinus patula), but with the addition of some indigenous fruit tree species, together with three species of indigenous hardwoods at Uchindile and two at Mapanda. Revenue will be generated for the government, district council and villages through the sale of wood products and certified emission reductions (CERs). In addition, employment will be generated in the local communities that total over 6000, while new infrastructure such as roads will stimulate economic development.

Presently the wildlife of the area is limited to species such as wild pigs, moles, rodents and a few birds. Native grassland and pockets of indigenous vegetation that may contain endemic or rare species are to be left intact and protected. The total area of natural vegetation that will be protected and possibly enhanced totals 5000 hectares. Buffer zones on water courses of 30 meters width will not be planted. The spread of plantation species into the conservation areas will be monitored. Endangered species, including Osyris lanceolata, Prunus africana and Protea spp., have been indentified, and such areas will be mapped and protected, as will the breeding habitats of rare birds.

The supply of wood from the plantations will relieve pressure on indigenous forests from the collection of building materials and fuelwood. Natural regeneration is not expected to occur within the project area as the seed bank in the soil is minimal after many years of burning the grassland that replaced the forest.

The material presented in the design document suggests that the biodiversity benefits of this project are confined mainly to the conservation of patches of native grassland and forest remnants. There is no attempt to enhance the native vegetation along waterways or to create corridors in the project areas.

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