Access to Joint Forest Management Resources: Challenges and Opportunities to Local Communities. A case of Udzungwa Forest Reserve
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Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to examine opportunities and challenges encountered by the communities surrounding Udzungwa Escarpment Forest Reserve after Joint Forest Management (JFM) program. Interview and Focus Group Discussion were used as tools for data collection. The communities have faced significant challenges in accessing JFM resources, for which there are few opportunities that community enjoy. In the past before July 2011, the local communities were allowed to enter the reserve to collect dead woods for firewood, but currently, they are strictly forbidden to do the same. It was observed further that there existed conflicts between Udzungwa Mountains National Park and local communities due to wild animals raiding farmer’s crops. However, the local communities acknowledged that JFM had enabled them to have improved village dispensaries and some school classes. It is recommended that there should be a mutual relationship between the National Park Management and the local communities to enhance economic wellbeing for the communities adjacent to reserved forest.