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Article

Forests, Farms, and Fallows: The Dynamics of Tree Cover Transition in the Southern Part of the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania

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EU Delegation to Tanzania, Dar es Salaam P.O. Box 6114, Tanzania
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Forestry Training Institute, Olmotonyi, Arusha P.O. Box 943, Tanzania
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World Agroforestry (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
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World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Dar es Salaam P.O. Box 6226, Tanzania
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School of Life Sciences and Bio-Engineering, The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha P.O. Box 447, Tanzania
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bruno Martino
Land 2021, 10(6), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060571
Received: 12 March 2021 / Revised: 13 May 2021 / Accepted: 14 May 2021 / Published: 28 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountains under Pressure)
Forests and woodlands remain under threat in tropical Africa due to excessive exploitation and inadequate management interventions, and the isolated success stories of tree retention and tree cover transition on African agricultural land are less well documented. In this study, we characterize the status of tree cover in a landscape that contains forest patches, fallows, and farms in the southern part of Uluguru Mountains. We aimed to unveil the practices of traditional tree fallow system which is socially acceptable in local settings and how it provides a buffering effects to minimize forest disturbances and thus represents an important step towards tree cover transition. We assessed land cover dynamics for the period of 1995 to 2020 and compared tree stocking for forest patches, fallows, and farms. We found that tree biomass carbon stocks were 56 ± 5 t/ha in forest patches, 33 ± 7 t/ha in fallows, and 9 ± 2 t/ha on farms. In terms of land cover, farms shrank at intensifying rates over time for the entire assessment period of 1995–2020. Forest cover decreased from 1995–2014, with the reduction rate slowing from 2007–2014 and the trend reversing from 2014–2020, such that forest cover showed a net increase across the entire study period. Fallow consistently and progressively increased from 1995–2020. We conclude that traditional tree fallows in the study site remain a significant element of land management practice among communities, and there appears to be a trend towards intensified tree-based farming. The gains in fallowed land represent an embracing of a traditional land management system that supports rotational and alternate uses of cropping space as well as providing a buffering effect to limit over-exploitation of forests. In order to maximize tree cover and carbon stocks in the farm landscape, this well-known traditional tree fallow system can be further optimized through the incorporation of additional innovations. View Full-Text
Keywords: deforestation; shifting cultivation; traditional fallow; swiddens deforestation; shifting cultivation; traditional fallow; swiddens
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mpanda, M.; Kashindye, A.; Aynekulu, E.; Jonas, E.; Rosenstock, T.S.; Giliba, R.A. Forests, Farms, and Fallows: The Dynamics of Tree Cover Transition in the Southern Part of the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania. Land 2021, 10, 571. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060571

AMA Style

Mpanda M, Kashindye A, Aynekulu E, Jonas E, Rosenstock TS, Giliba RA. Forests, Farms, and Fallows: The Dynamics of Tree Cover Transition in the Southern Part of the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania. Land. 2021; 10(6):571. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060571

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mpanda, Mathew; Kashindye, Almas; Aynekulu, Ermias; Jonas, Elvis; Rosenstock, Todd S.; Giliba, Richard A. 2021. "Forests, Farms, and Fallows: The Dynamics of Tree Cover Transition in the Southern Part of the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania" Land 10, no. 6: 571. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060571

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