Community Perceptions and Willingness to Accept and Execute REDD+ Initiative: The Case of Pugu and Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserves, Tanzania

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Abstract

The study examined community perceptions and willingness to accept and execute Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative at Pugu and Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserves (PKFRs) in the course of addressing the overriding problem of climate change. The survey was conducted in two villages' i.e. Kisarawe and Kazimzumbwi adjacent to PKFRs. A total of 110 respondents were randomly selected with a sampling intensity of 10%. Key informants interview, focus group discussion (FGD) and in-depth interviews using a questionnaire administered to selected community members were the major techniques used in data collection. Regarding community perceptions and acceptability of the REDD+ initiative, the study revealed low level of acceptance (16.2%), which was highly attributed to low level of awareness on the initiative. Poor governance and poor community involvement in REDD+ activities were highly ranked as REDD+ perceived problems. Lack of livelihood options was observed to be constraining factor behind community support to the initiative. The study concludes that, for the success and sustainability of REDD+ initiative at PKFRs, robust livelihood options like training the community on how to make charcoal out of dry leaves are needed to be crafted at the shoes of the community in line with educating the community on the rationality of the initiative in their locality.

Key words: Community; Livelihood options; Perceptions; REDD+ Sustainability

INTRODUCTION

Climate change is a global issue posing challenges to the very survival of mankind and sustainable development. The adverse impacts of climate change are now evident almost everywhere. Climate change poses a serious risk to poverty reduction and threatens to undo decades of development efforts. It is widely accepted that, the impacts of climate change are, and will continue to be more pronounced in poor countries. These countries have contributed the least to the problem and are the ones least able to cope with the impact (URT, 2007).

However, there have been efforts to address the problem of climate change at both global and national level through adaptation and mitigation measures. At the global scale the main contribution towards addressing climate change has been through coordinating national and regional efforts and providing a platform for dialogue on pertinent issues before appropriate decision is to be made. Coordination and monitoring of all climate change mitigation and adaptation measures globally are realized under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). On climate change mitigation actions, UNFCCC has been coordinating the formulation of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) among the parties. NAMAs are voluntary emission reduction measures undertaken by developing countries that are reported by national governments to the UNFCCC. They are expected to be the main vehicle for mitigation action in developing countries under a future climate agreement, and can be policies, programs or projects implemented at national, regional, or local levels (Dalkmann, & Binsted, 2010). It is very fortunate that, Tanzania is one of the selected Pilot countries for climate change mitigation measures under the umbrella of REDD+ Pilot countries. It has about nine REDD+ Pilot Projects all over the country the results of which will be up-scaled to the entire country when the countries embark on implementing REDD+ in the post 2012 climate regime.

Perceptions of the local community towards a given natural resource management programme is very essential and hence need not to be underestimated. Understanding of community perceptions is of paramount importance in natural resources management (Logomo, 2009). Several studies stress the importance of using local people's perceptions as an input for designing and applying appropriate management plans for sustainable development, particularly in protected areas (Kleftoyanni et al, 2010). …