Effects of Anthropogenic Activities on Catchment Forest in Njombe District: A Case of Nundu Catchment Forest
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This study assessed effects of anthropogenic activities on Nundu catchment forest located in Nundu catchment forest in Njombe District. Specific objectives of the study were to identify anthropogenic activities conducted in the catchment forest, to examine the effect of anthropogenic activities on catchment forest and to determine efforts and constrains for management of catchment forest in the area. Data for the study were collected through interviews with a random sample of 98 household heads and seven key informants, as well as through two Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with community members. Data were analysed through descriptive and thematic analyses. The study revealed that different economic and social activities were performed to varying degree in and around catchment forest. Social activities included water collection, firewood collection, brewing of local beer, local tourism, rituals, research, and collection of medicinal plants; while economic activities included farming, soil digging, charcoal making, lumbering and hunting. Most of these activities were noted to pose a significant threat to environment such as forest loss, water pollution, and soil erosion. Initiatives that were in place for conservation of the catchment forest included provision of education on conservation to community, involvement of stakeholders, enforcement of bylaws and allocation of buffer zone. However, some challenges existed in conservation efforts in the area. These included poor coordination among stakeholders, limited resources and lack of land use plan to the surrounding villages. Based on these findings, it was recommended that routine monitoring should be conducted to prevent new encroachment, charcoal making, and felling, which are a threat to forests in the area. Demarcation and fencing of hydrological such as water sources in the area is also important.