REDD+ on the ground: In Tanzania, funding and enthusiasm ‘faded away’

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2 January 2015

By Kate Evans, originally posted at Forests News

Jane Goodall is known worldwide for her decades of work with chimpanzees in the Gombe forest of Western Tanzania.

It’s less well known that the NGO she founded, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), has been experimenting with how REDD+—touted as the next big idea for tackling climate change by reducing deforestation—could help protect the apes’ habitat, and the livelihoods of the people that live around them.

That’s a lot of people. The Masito Ugalla ecosystem, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, is one of the poorest parts of the country, and burdened with a high rate of population growth.

In 2009, the Norwegian Government offered to fund projects across Tanzania that would pilot the concept of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and forest Degradation). The idea was to pay communities to keep forests standing through the sale of carbon credits that could be traded internationally.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm at the beginning,” said Demetrius Kweka, a researcher from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who has been analyzing half a dozen REDD+ initiatives in Tanzania for a new book, “REDD+ on the Ground: A case book of subnational initiatives across the globe.”

JGI received funding to implement a pilot REDD+ project in seven villages in the Kigoma region, called “Building REDD Readiness in the Masito Ugalla Ecosystem Pilot Area in Support of Tanzania’s National REDD Strategy,” and aiming to protect 900 square kilometers of the Masito forest.

“It had a really good setup overall,” Kweka said. “They came up with some innovative techniques.”

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