Socio-Cultural Factors Influencing Community Participation in the Joint Forest Management: A Case of Uzungwa Scarp Nature Forest Reserve, Tanzania

  • Godfrey Elisha University of Iringa
  • Agnes Nzali, PhD University of Iringa
  • Frank Philipo, PhD University of Iringa
Keywords: Joint Forest Management, Community Participation, Uzungwa Scarp Nature Forest Reserve, Socio-Ecological System Theory, Conservation
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This study emphasizes the critical role of participatory approaches, particularly joint forest management (JFM), in addressing the escalating threat to forests posed by human activities. Focusing on the socio-cultural aspects, the research explores the factors influencing community participation in joint forest management within Tanzania's Uzungwa Scarp Nature Forest Reserve (USNFR), employing the Socio-Ecological System theory to underscore the potential of community-driven resource management. The study employed a cross-sectional research design, collecting data through questionnaires, focus group discussions, and interviews involving 190 respondents from five villages spanning Kilolo, Mufindi, and Mlimba Districts. Quantitative data underwent descriptive statistical analysis, while qualitative data were subjected to thematic analysis. The majority of the respondents were relatively young, likely due to their physical fitness and heightened environmental commitment. Conversely, older individuals were underrepresented, likely due to age-related limitations. Gender imbalances were observed, reflecting deeply ingrained gender-related barriers in societal norms. Education levels varied, with a significant portion having completed primary education, while higher levels of education were less represented. The respondents were predominantly married, indicating a probable tie to family responsibilities. Farming was the main occupation for the majority, highlighting their dependence on forest resources. Effective communication emerged as pivotal during village assemblies and workshops, fostering awareness and empowerment for successful joint forest management. Cultural factors significantly influenced community participation in JFM within the USNFR. Ritual activities, local knowledge, and power dynamics played key roles, creating taboos and restrictions that reinforced cultural ties to conservation, leveraging the influence of community elders. To enhance community involvement, the current influential factors should be preserved and enforced. Also, to ensure tailored conservation training programs, context-specific communication tools, promotion of cultural integration, and ensuring inclusivity in all JFM aspects. Future research should focus on assessing the impact of training programs on forest conservation


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26 September, 2023
How to Cite
Elisha, G., Nzali, A., & Philipo, F. (2023). Socio-Cultural Factors Influencing Community Participation in the Joint Forest Management: A Case of Uzungwa Scarp Nature Forest Reserve, Tanzania. East African Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 6(2), 158-173.