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Management of Indigenous Tree Species for Ecosystem Restoration and Wood Production in Semi-arid Miombo Woodlands in Eastern Africa

Final Report Summary - MITMIOMBO (Management of Indigenous Tree Species for Ecosystem Restoration and Wood Production in Semi-arid Miombo Woodlands in Eastern Africa)

The first primary objective of the MITMIOMBO project was to coach Tanzanian researchers in the application of state-of-the-art research methods for addressing management challenges involving indigenous stands with complex structures and dynamics. Secondary objectives to this were:
a. to communicate general principles and previous applications of state-of-the-art research methods for stands with complex structures and dynamics;
b. to establish and manage a set of permanent experimental research plots in Tanzania to serve as a staging ground for demonstration and application of research methodologies appropriate for complex stand structures and dynamics, natural regeneration, seasonal growth variation of trees in the area, and pest problems as tree - herbivore interactions;
c. to exchange experiences between researchers on the research methods by direct joint application to design and establishment of the experiments, data analysis, and work towards conclusion relevant to practice in terms of exchange visits and workshops;
d. to initiate and promote cooperation with researchers in other East and South African countries on the project themes by inviting them to participate in selected activities for communicating the working concept, scientific substance, and results, utilising the permanent plots for demonstration.

The second primary objective was to launch interaction and dissemination of knowledge between local communities, farmers, and potential tree growers, local extension workers, and researchers on practical management issues of indigenous stands.

The third primary objective was to promote the exchange of knowledge and experience between researchers from Tanzania, Europe, and other East African countries on the objectives, methods, and potential benefits of the management of semiarid forest ecosystems. A network for future cooperation on the subject was to be established and strengthened through involvement in this pilot project.

The project's objectives were pursued during a series of meetings and presentations with local authorities, communities etc.

The results of the pilot studies conducted on the plots indicated that:
- Stand structures in the study area were very complex with species, tree size and tree location intermixed in various ways. Trees of the highly preferable, primary timber species constituted a majority (55 %) of the current standing volumes.
- Trees in the rather dry Miombo conditions of Kitulangalo do not grow continuously.
- Exclusion of grazers led to increase in grass coverage.

The syntheses produced on the management of Miombo woodlands in Tanzania and beyond indicated that:
- Utilisation of Miombo woodlands is unsustainable and inefficient in the area. Deforestation is alarming.
- Fuel use in the cities, particularly charcoal, is currently a major driver of deforestation in large parts of the country.
- Second-generation biofuels, prioritising technologies that will not require monoculture expansion, nor pose a threat to vulnerable people's food security or land security as well as biological diversity should be considered in first hand while setting up a comprehensive bio-energy policy for the forest sector in the area.
- Involvement of local communities and other stakeholders in management and regeneration of the Miombo woodland research was much appreciated in the communities and contributed essential information and knowledge to the participants.

Almost all project objectives were fully achieved. Only the participation of researchers from outside the project contractors (objective 3) was of limited success. Not enough attention was paid to their involvement at the planning stages of the project. Consequently, the plans and budgets did not facilitate more intensive participation from Tanzania's neighbours. On the other hand, the results and experiences gained during the studies have been made widely available to the relevant researcher community through the project publications and materials. Based on the established network, it will be possible to design future projects and successfully submit applications for their funding. One draft proposal is already being developed.

The reports and experiences may have influence through the policy processes in Tanzania. The methodologies jointly applied during the project can have major future applications in studies on structure, dynamics, silviculture and management of Miombo woodlands in Tanzania. The methods seem to work well, and Tanzanian junior researchers were trained to use them in similar and other situations. Senior SUA and TAFORI researchers also actively participated in the process, so that they are fully aware of the benefits of the approach.