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wildlife conservation society

wildlife conservation society

Case study: Conserving Tanzania's Wildlife

1y ago


Terrat village is a community of some 3 500 people involved mainly in pastoral activities in northern Tanzania. In 2004 a group of five tourism operators entered into a PES type agreement with the community, with villagers helping conserve wildlife in exchange for annual financial payments. The agreement covered 9 300 hectares of communally managed land traditionally used for dry season grazing: villagers agreed to desist from cultivating the area and to prevent the erection of permanent settlements. They also contracted to prevent activities such as charcoal burning and hunting. In exchange the tour operators would pay villagers approximately $4 500 annually. Separately the Wildlife Conservation Society agreed to fund US$300 a month to employ and equip four village scouts to carry out wildlife monitoring and other activities. This relatively informal PES scheme seems to have been successfully implemented. Studies indicate that the project's viability has been achieved not only through monetary means. One key element was that the agreement explicitly allowed for the continuance of seasonal livestock grazing on the land -- a vital activity generating community income. Another important element in the agreement was trust: villagers were familiar with the tour operators and their activities -- and also understood the value of conserving wildlife both for financial and aesthetic reasons. Formation of a village management board to oversee the PES arrangement also helped: revenue from the PES has been invested in collective social services, including the construction of new schools. Other villages in the region have expressed interest in forming similar schemes. Preliminary evidence suggests such PES arrangements could well be more effective than investment in other conservation measures in terms of protecting land from agricultural encroachment and conserving wildlife.