Participatory forest management (PFM) schemes were designed to put communities at the centre of managing local natural resources. The approach was driven by belief that without the support of local people, conservation efforts may fail and through their involvement more socially and environmentally sustainable outcomes could be achieved. In Tanzania participatory forest management schemes have been running for 10 years providing an excellent opportunity to study their social and environmental impact.
A key finding of the project was that while community based forest management does not appear to have an impact at the household level, communities describe a rich narrative of their collective contribution. Namely, greater control of their forest, regular access to forest products, and pride in recognition for their conservation efforts (by other villages and the state).
Nicole is an environmental scientist based at the School of International Development, University of East Anglia with 15 years of experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has a MSc in conservation biology and PhD in environmental studies from Antioch New England University. Her project, hosted by University College London, sought to inform the development of future conservation efforts in Tanzania that provide for both people and the environment.