Tanzania – Uluguru Mountains

Testing the feasibility of rewards for environmental services at the Uluguru Mountains

The Uluguru Mountains of eastern Tanzania receive an average rainfall of 2,000 millimetres, which feeds the many small rivers and streams that join to form the main Ruvu River. This river is the main source of water for 3 million people in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam.

Photo by V. Meadu

Photo by V. Meadu

Pressure from farming and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources has significantly reduced forest cover. This has negatively affected the quantity and quality of water in the rivers flowing out of the Ulugurus, including the River Ruvu.

In recent years, several conservation projects have attempted to restore the natural resource base of the Uluguru Mountains. This includes the piloting of payments for watershed services by CARE Tanzania.

PRESA aimed at providing technical support to the Equitable Payments for Watershed Services (EPWS) programme, run by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and CARE Tanzania. The support is in the form of advice on appropriate farming practices and geographic targeting. EPWS was working in Kibungo Juu sub-catchment.

PRESA assessed land use and land degradation and developed watershed service risk maps. A prototype payment mechanism was established based on findings determining how much farmers are willing to accept for carbon sequestration from planting trees for watershed management.

Contracts were developed with 200 households for planting 20,000 tree seedlings of Khaya anthotheca (an indigenous timber tree), Tectona grandis (teak) and Faidherbia albida (an indigenous tree that improves soil fertility and provides firewood). In exchange, farmers are receiving 300 Tanzania Shillings (US$0.20) a year for each surviving seedling.

A year after establishing these mechanisms, farmers are expressing willingness to continue managing the trees even when payments stop completely. The training they got on tree planting, the free seedlings they received and the expected additional benefits from tree products were enough to satisfy farmers’ payment demands.

What started off as a conditional, commoditized payment mechanism has evolved into a co-investment type with less emphasis on conditionality.

Next steps

  1. Document the lessons learnt and produce a policy brief on the potential of the rewards for environmental services approach in watershed management.
  2. Engage in dialogue with institutions on the ground to build the PRESA experience into ongoing rewards for environmental service activities.

Site profile

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Environmental service

  • Carbon (REDD)
  • Watershed services

Potential provider of environmental services

  • Upstream smallholder farmers
  • Potential buyers

Potential buyers