Anthropogenic Drivers of Forest Change in Miombo Ecosystems of South-eastern Tanzania: Implications for REDD+

Kassim Kulindwa, Haakon Lein, Aloyce S Hepelwa, Buruani I Mshale


As the basic purpose of REDD+ is to avoid deforestation and forest degradation, a good understanding of processes that cause deforestation is obviously of importance. However, many REDD+ programs and policies have rather limited focus on the underlying processes behind forest change. Much of the on-going work within the REDD+ framework focus on building institutional capacity (‘REDD readiness'), finding ways or measuring and monitoring carbon, developing institutional facilities, and on the international financing of REDD+. It appears that the discussion of what actually causes deforestation is seen as a more or less resolved and settled issue. This paper argues for a more contextualized understanding of the drivers of forest change in human-dominated Miombo ecosystems of southern Tanzania. This is achieved through addressing two basic empirical research questions: How is the forest changing; and what factors influence forest change? The study is based on quantitative and qualitative data covering both socio-economic and ecological aspects collected in 12 villages of Kilwa and Lindi districts in southern Tanzania. The study shows that there are considerable micro-level variations from village to village as regard both the extent and drivers of deforestation/forest degradation.

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