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Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are the mechanism established for implementing community wildlife management in Tanzania. WMAs consist of portions of village land set aside for purposes of wildlife conservation and the development of wildlife-based enterprises such as tourism and tourist hunting.
In order to establish WMAs, villages must develop land use plans and by-laws, as well as establish a community-based organization (CBO) that is granted user rights to wildlife by the Wildlife Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT).WMAs were !rst formally adopted in Tanzania by the 1998 Wildlife Policy (revised 2007).
This Policy recognized that for the future of wildlife in Tanzania it is essential that wildlife generate economic bene!ts to the rural communities who live alongside wildlife, and for wildlife to be a competitive economic form of land use at the local scale. WMAs were !rst legally established through the WMA
Regulations of 2002 (revised 2005) and are now established in the Wildlife Conservation Act of 2009.

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Networks of protected areas (PAs) remain the single most dominant approach for conserving biodiversity in the tropics (Brunei et al. 2001). In Tanzania, PAs occupy about 24% of the country's land cover (VVPT 2007). Generally, PAs have done a good job of sustaining much of the existing wildlife populations.

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This paper has been prepared as a contribution to the debate on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to community-based conservation in Africa. It focuses on the development of community wildlife management in Tanzania, and in particular on the experience of successive ODA/DFID-funded projects -REWMP and MBOMIPA - working with communities in Iringa District that neighbour Ruaha National Park.

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Tanzania is home to extraordinary wildlife migrations set against iconic African landscapes. Its natural wealth ranges from the open grasslands of the Serengeti in the north to granite inselbergs and thick woodlands in the south. At the same time, Tanzania remains economically one of the poorest countries in the world, with widespread poverty, particularly in the rural areas

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Wildlife is one of Tanzania’s most valuable natural resources. Wildlife produces important economic activity through tourism activities as well as providing food for millions of people. The new National Strategy for Growth and the Reduction of Poverty highlights wildlife as an important resource for local economic opportunities and benefits. The sustainable management of Tanzania’s wildlife is therefore, as President Nyerere observed over forty years ago, is a matter of great importance to the country.

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Wildlife can endanger a community’s livelihoods and people – or become its greatest natural asset. If you’re trying to farm or graze, elephants and lions can wreak havoc. But if you’re willing to be flexible and make some effort, the same animals can attract income, jobs, and a link to the outside world. Where wildlife still roams in significant numbers, governments are allowing communities to create wildlife sanctuaries – particularly in “buffer” areas surrounding national parks or other reserves, and in “corridors” where animals move from one park to another in search of food, water, and mates.

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There is increasing consensus that, despite substantial opportunities and investment to date, progress on community wildlife management (CWM) in Tanzania has fallen below the expectations of many stakeholders. Promised socio-economic benefits, democratic governance and conservation outcomes are not being sufficiently realized. However, there are emerging successes in Tanzania, and experiences in the Region from which all stakeholders can learn.

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Wildlife in Tanzania has been property and responsibility of the state since the colonial period. In the late 1900s, however, the government ushered in new policies that granted wildlife user rights to communities that established Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) on Village Land. WMAs offer rural people new economic opportunities, but they also come with strict conditions.
To date, WMAs have not achieved their objectives of conservation and local development. The following lesson explores the decentralization of wildlife user rights and their impact on local communities.

 

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In December 2006 the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA) was contracted by the Tanzania Programme Office of the WWF to undertake an assessment and evaluation of wildlife management areas (WMAs) in the country.

 

 

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Within the last few years, Tanzania has witnessed mushrooming growth of “wildlife management areas” (WMAs). These are broadly meant to halt (or reduce) loss of wildlife populations, and ensure that local people benefit from their conservation. However, human pressure is rapidly increasing and causing management problems in the WMAs. Some human land-use activities also limit wildlife dispersal, potentially destabilizing wildlife population dynamics.

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