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Comparative evaluation of two forest systems under different management regimes in Miombo woodlands

Miombo Woodlands in Tanzania

Comparative evaluation of two forest systems under different management regimes in Miombo woodlands

Protected forests in Tanzania do not have more carbon or biodiversity than unprotected forests according to results from a study made by Lina Hammarstrand and Andreas Särnberger.

The study is based on a case study in the Kitulangalo area in Tanzania. The authors, Lina Hammarstrand Andreas Särnberger, conducted this work as their master thesis in Industrial Ecology at the Department of Energy and Environment, Division of Physical Resource Theory, at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. 
 
Their thesis titled "Comparative evaluation of two forest systems under different management regimes in Miombo woodlands" can be downloaded here. 
 

Abstract 

The world forest is a key component in the environmental issue of global warming as it acts as one of the most important storage for carbon. This storage potential gives possibilities to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and therefore reduce global warming. Despite this, extensive degradation and deforestation of the world forest occurs today and there is a desire from the international environmental community to reduce the destructive degradation and conserve the world forest, especially in Africa where a majority of the world forest degradation takes place. Tanzania is one of these countries where a high deforestation rate is a major issue, especially in Miombo Woodlands, which represent most of the forestland. A number of people and communities that live adjacent to Miombo woodlands are highly dependent on the forest for their livelihood. 
 
This study investigated the condition of two forest systems under different management regimes. One case focused on conserving the forest, named as protected forest, and one case focused on forest accessibility and usability, named as unprotected forest. Furthermore the thesis estimated how these two forests can contribute to the local peoples livelihood as well as discuss what the future potential for these forests may look like. 
 
The parameters measured to assess the forest condition were carbon stock in above‐ground biomass, below‐ground biomass and carbon content in soil and tree species biodiversity. Data was collected through field measurements. The livelihood potential was assessed by a selection of system services most important for the local people identified through interviews. During the interviews, major threats and drivers for forest degeneration were determined and contextual parameter for these specific forest systems, such as population growth in the area and accessibility of the forests, were included to discuss the future potential of the forests in terms of carbon stock and system services. 
 
The conclusion is that the two forest cases were quite similar for the parameters assessed in this thesis, which was a surprising result since historical studies showed that the protected forest was in a better condition. Furthermore, for some parameters, such as carbon stock and one of the system services, the unprotected forest even showed better results than the protected forest. When discussing the future potential it was concluded that there are two aspects of a forest, the global desire of preservation as well as the local need for usability and resource extraction. The ideal would be to satisfy both of these conflicting wills without further degrading the forest, meaning the extraction rate does not exceed the regrowth rate of the forest. But with the increasing pressures expected in the future it may prove difficult to meet all these demands in a sustainable way on such a small forest area. However, the study concludes that there are many factors that can be improved in the current forest utilisation to increase the forest usage efficiency. 
 
Keywords: Livelihood, Miombo woodlands, carbon stock, biodiversity, system services, charcoal, timber, building poles, above‐ground biomass, below‐ground biomass, soil organic carbon,

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