Good news for Mpingo Conservation Project!

Thanks to the hard work of FFI and our local partner the Mpingo Conservation Project, two communities in southeast Tanzania have recently been awarded the first Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate for community-managed natural forest in Africa.  This is a first in Africa!

What this landmark achievement means is that the two communities will be able to earn upwards of US $19 (£13) per log compared to just 8 cents (5 pence) they received before we began working with them. Mpingo is one of the world’s most valuable timber species, and is most often exported to be used in making clarinets, oboes and bagpipes.

This initiative will help preserve the mpingo tree from possible extinction and help save the endangered Tanzanian ‘miombo’ woodland ecosystem. Miombo woodland supports many species that require large areas to range across, such as buffalo, warthog, elephant, hunting dog and lion. These species are likely to suffer drastic declines in numbers if the present rate of clearing and burning miombo forest continues apace.

FFI and our partner helped the communities gain access to the skills and resources they needed to set up sustainable management of their forests. The FSC certification will help communities to simultaneously protect their forests and earn a decent living. It has also created a new potentially highly profitable market for sustainably sourced musical instruments.

One of the local farmers in Kikole, one of the certified communities, Mwanaiba Ali Mbega (pictured above), said: “When we started this project we began to see the benefits that could arise from managing our forests. Now we have reached the stage of certification we are confident we are going to bring long term benefits that we will be able to pass on to our grandchildren”