Not only are the restored woodlands important economic assets but, as Table 1 (“Improving livelihoods through ngitili: Key findings”) highlights, they are also fostering richer habitats and the recovery of a variety of species. The task force found 152 species of trees, shrubs, and climbers in restored ngitili, where recently scrubby wasteland had stood. Small- and medium-sized mammals such as hyenas, wild pigs, deer, hare, and rabbits are also returning, and the task force recorded 145 bird species that had become locally rare or extinct (Monela et al. 2004:3-5).
The returning wildlife has also created problems, with some villages suffering considerable crop damage. Growing hyena populations, for example, are taking a toll on livestock. However, the costs of wildlife damage, which average US$63 per family per year, are greatly outweighed by the economic gains from ngitili in most villages (Monela et al. 2004:58-61, 67; Barrow 2005c).