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Threats to Village Land in Tanzania: Implications for REDD+ Benefit- Sharing Arrangements

This piece originally appeared in Lessons About Land Tenure, Forest Governance and REDD+: Case Studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America.1 The full text of the article is available here.


REDD+ presents an important opportunity for Tanzania to leverage its forest resources to bring in new capital flows, promote forest management and provide benefits to communities. With a legal framework designed to promote decentralization and more than a decade of experience with Participatory Forest Management, the country appears ready to capitalize on REDD+.

On closer examination, however, villagers face multiple obstacles in securing rights over land and realizing forest benefits. This paper examines five challenges—classification of General Land; recognition of Village Land; recognition of village government; transfer of Village Land to General or Reserved Land; and Participatory Forest Management procedures. Legal ambiguities and contradictions coupled with inconsistent implementation and governance structures pose unique threats to the success of REDD+ in Tanzania. With REDD+ infrastructure yet to be developed, however, opportunities exist for these challenges to be addressed. The current legal and institutional framework needs clarification and strengthening to make REDD+ a success for all Tanzanians.

  1. Naughton-Treves, L. and C. Day. eds. 2012. Lessons about Land Tenure, Forest Governance and REDD+. Case Studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Madison, Wisconsin: UW-Madison Land Tenure Center. ↩︎

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