Secure land rights incentivize community-led rangeland restoration, Kiteto District, Tanzania

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The CGIAR Research Initiative on Livestock and Climate is supporting pastoral communities in Tanzania to secure their land rights and strengthen governance and management of rangeland resources. This is achieved by supporting policy-serving innovations, engaging in joint village land use planning (JVLUP) and facilitating participatory rangeland management (PRM). These efforts have resulted in a notable enhancement of pastoralists land tenure security and encouraging investments that enhance land productivity and where degraded, facilitating restoration

Securing lands through joint village land use planning  

 Joint village land use planning builds on individual village land use planning process, a mandatory procedure for all Tanzanian villages. In this process, communities reach agreements on the primary land uses within legally recognized village boundaries. The joint village land use planning approach goes further by facilitating and safeguarding the sharing of resources among clusters of villages. This helps prevent the fragmentation of rangelands, obstruction of livestock mobility corridors and resolves conflicts related to land use. The initiative is a collaborative effort between ILRI, KINNAPA Development Programme, National Land Use Planning Commission, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI), Kiteto District Council and local communities.  

Prioritizing rangeland restoration 

One such cluster is ALOLLE, encompassing four villages: Amei, Lolera, Lembapuli and Lesoit. Protecting 81,237 hectares of grazing land, it stands as the largest JVLUP cluster in Kiteto District. After completing the JVLUP approach, ILRI and its partners have been enhancing community capacity to better govern and manage their land, which includes developing a rangeland management and restoration plan. For 2023, the communities identified bush-thinning as a priority activity.   

The primary objective of bush thinning is to stimulate the growth of grasses providing more feed for livestock. After discussions with ILRI, the community agreed to first clear about 112 hectares of land. ILRI supplied hand tools and protective gear, while the community contributed the labour. Additionally, TALIRI offered technical advice on the optimal approach to thinning the bush.  

Learning visit to NARCO ranch 

Before starting the bush thinning project, ILRI, TALIRI and the Kiteto District Council organized a visit for community members to visit the NARCO commercial ranch in the neighboring Kongwa district. The purpose of the visit was to gain insights into bush thinning, as well as pasture management, animal breeding and livestock marketing.  

Learning visit to NARCO – Kongwa with District Commissioner (center) and other district officials . Photo by B. Olesikilal.
Learning visit to NARCO in Kongwa District with District Commissioner (center) and other district officials . Photo by B. Olesikilal.

Rangeland restoration in action 

Following the visit and with all necessary resources in hand, the men from the ALOLLE cluster communities undertook the challenging task of clearing the bush as the dry season began in October. Mainly dealing with Acacia melifera and Acacia drepanolobium species, their sharp thorns required the use of protective gear, including thick gloves and eyeglasses. The clearing of the 112 hectares took approximately three weeks.  

Although this thinned area represents only 0.14% of the total ALLOLE cluster, it has sparked community commitment to do more, and there are plans to expand the activity in 2024. Additionally, the cleared land will be managed to ensure it remains free of invasive species, and efforts will be made to optimize grass growth.  

Reflecting on this achievement, Livestock and Climate lead Fiona Flintan commented: “When communities have stronger land tenure security, they are more incentivized to invest time and resources in improving and restoring their land. We need increased investment in initiatives like this to secure land and resources for pastoral communities thereby improving livelihoods, increasing biodiversity and resolving land use conflicts.” 

The Livestock and Climate Initiative, along with its partners will continue to support the community in these endeavors and explore opportunities to scale up the approaches to new areas.  

Header image: Community members undertake bush thinning in ALOLLE cluster. Photo by B.Olesikilal. 

Story by Birikaa Olesikilal and Madison Spinelli.

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