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The TFCG Research Programme

The Tanzania Forest Conservation Group operates an active social and biological research programme that is constantly contributing knowledge to efforts to conserve the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests.

Discovering, Questioning, Analysing, Learning

What we want to know more about…

TFCG has focused its research efforts on issues relating to improving forest management, payments for ecological services and understanding the biodiversity values and threats to the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests.

Forest values and threats

The focus of the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group’s biodiversity research has been to document the biodiversity values of the Eastern Arc Mountain and Coastal Forests and to assess the threats that affect these forests.

Through the research that TFCG has been involved in, at least 10 new vertebrate species and two new plant species have been discovered in the Eastern Arc Mountains including the now famous Grey-faced sengi and two species named after TFCG staff, Chamaecrista mwangokae, a herb named after the TFCG botanical collector Moses Mwangoka and Arthroleptis nikeae, a frog named after the TFCG Technical Advisor, Nike Doggart. The surveys have also highlighted that some forests previously considered to be of lesser importance, such as the South Nguru and Rubeho Mountains, are of extreme importance in terms of the biodiversity that they hold.

The results of some of our surveys are provided below:

  • Mufindi Forests including Lulanda, Kigogo, Mufindi Scarp East         and West. 5.2 MB.

    • Ngaramia Riverine Forest 137 kb.

    • Pande Game Reserve 5.4 MB.

    • North Pare Mountains 3.5 MB.

    • Nguru South Mountains 2.2 MB.

TFCG employs a full-time botanical collector trained by the Missouri Botanical Gardens who has made over 5700 collections (one of the most prolific botanical collectors ever in Tanzania) and has discovered a number of previously undescribed species.

In partnership with ICRAF and the University of Florida, TFCG have been investigating the biodiversity values of different land cover types within the East Usambara Mountains and at how these values link with human resource use.


Payments for ecological services

TFCG are linked with a number of research initiatives aimed at improving our understanding of the value of the ecological services provided by the Eastern Arc Mountain and Coastal forests and investigating how those services can be paid for.

Participatory Forest Management

In 1998, Tanzania adopted a Forest Policy supportive of participatory forest management. The Tanzania Forest Conservation Group has participated in various research initiatives to assess the effectiveness of this policy and to gather lessons learnt.

During the 1990s TFCG assisted with a doctoral study of the changing patterns of forest management in the Eastern Arc. This has been published as a book (Woodcock K.A., 2002. Changing roles in natural forest management. Stakeholders roles in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania. Ashgate studies in environmental policy and practice.)

In 2004 and 2005, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund financed a team from TFCG to conduct a review of the impact of participatory Forest Management on biodiversity conservation and community livelihoods at various sites in the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests. 571 kb.

TFCG has also published a series of short papers from PFM practitioners in an edition of the Arc Journal focused on Participatory Forest Management in Tanzania. Arc Journal 21 3 MB.

Research partnerships

TFCG welcomes collaborative research with other institutions. TFCG has links with several research institutions including the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Cambridge, Sokoine University of Agriculture, the University of Dar es Salaam, University of Florida, Oxford Brookes University, the Trento Museum of Natural History, ICRAF, the Tanzania Forestry Research Institute (TAFORI), the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology and the Missouri Botanical Gardens.