Ntakata Mountains Project

Tanzania, United Republic of Placeholder
Tanzania, Republik Demokratik Kongo

Name: Ntakata Mountains Project
Country: United Republic Of Tanzania
Year of establishment: 2017
Type of organization: Community business or cooperative , Indigenous Peoples’ group or organization

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Ntakata Mountains Project

Tanzania, United Republic of Placeholder
Tanzania, Republik Demokratik Kongo

Name: Ntakata Mountains Project
Country: Tanzania
Year of establishment:
Type of organization: Community business or cooperative , Indigenous Peoples’ group or organization

Share this solution:

Deskripsi

In western Tanzania, eight farming communities have established the Ntakata Mountains Project - a natural climate solution that protects 216, 944ha of threatened, community-owned forests. Using the REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) monitoring framework and methodology for carbon accounting, these eight forest communities protect 1,200,000 trees from being cut down annually.

The forest contains high-value chimpanzee habitat and provides essential ecosystem services that support the Bende, Tongwe and the Ha people who farm in this richly forested landscape. They grow crops and raise some livestock in well- watered valleys, depending on healthy forests for water catchment, healthy soils and other products and services.

By protecting trees from being cut down the project avoids 550,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. These avoided emissions are quantified and certified as carbon credits, and are sold on the voluntary carbon market to international companies with net-zero commitments.

The sales of these credits provide revenues to the forest communities of the Ntakata Mountains. These revenues are used to enhance forest protection activities through the employment and training of Village Game Scouts who patrol the forests and through the employment of Carbon Champions. Carbon Champions are community members who communicate with their neighbours about the importance of protecting forests, how the project operates and how benefits are shared. The revenue is also used to support community development initiatives, finance the building of infrastructure to improve health services and educational opportunities, provide community health insurance and support small green businesses.

Nature Element: Forests
Type of Action:
Sustainable Development Element: Jobs and livelihoods (SDG 1) , Education (SDG 4) , Climate action (SDG 13) , Peace and security (SDG 16) 

Nature Element: Forests
Type of Action:
Sustainable Development Element: Jobs and livelihoods (SDG 1) , Education (SDG 4) , Climate action (SDG 13) , Peace and security (SDG 16) 

Dampak Lingkungan

Tanzania currently loses approximately 1-2% of forests every year, contributing to approximately 70% of the country’s national emissions. The Ntakata Mountains conservation project is reversing this trend, reducing Tanzania's rate of forest loss by protecting 216,944 ha of miombo woodland and preventing 1.25 million trees from being cut down every year.

Habitat suitability modelling has determined that The Ntakata Mountains project protects 11,056 ha of high-quality habitat suitable for the endangered Eastern Chimpanzee. Data collected through Landsat and by Village Game Scouts on the ground verify that the communities of the Ntakata Mountains have successfully protected high-quality chimp habitat essential to the survival of the species in the region.

The project area also protects habitat for martial eagles, elephant, pangolin and lion in addition to the endangered Lappet-faced Vulture, Wild Dog and Western Red Colobus and the critically endangered White-headed Vulture.

The protection of the forest using REDD avoids 550,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from deforestation annually. The climate mitigation impacts of the project are two-fold - by preventing threatened forests from being cut down the forest is able to continue to sequester carbon and the 550,000 high-quality carbon credits generated annually from the project support international efforts to reach net-zero commitments.

Sustainable Development Impacts

SDG1. Payments from carbon credits increase community income and promote economic growth. The communities of the Ntakata Mountains project have earned US$2.3 million in carbon revenue since 2017.

SDG4. Improved access to quality education has been secured for all members of the community with the support of carbon revenue. Classrooms have been built for school age children, Village Game Scouts have received training on natural resource protection and the community receives environmental education through the Carbon Champions program.

SDG13. The project tackles climate change by addressing deforestation. The project prevents 1.25 million trees from being cut down every year avoiding 550,000 tonnes of CO2.

SDG16. The project supports the building of accountable and fair governance structures through developing community land use plans, Village Land Forest Reserves and benefit-sharing mechanisms. 15% of the projects’ revenue is dedicated to strengthening governance.

RESILIENCE, ADAPTABILITY, AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY

The formation of Village Land Forest Reserves (VLFRs) in order to protect their land and livelihood was a direct response to external pressure from migrants wanting to convert their forests to farms. The formation of the VLFRs strengthened their land rights and the legal framework for them to respond to environmental, social and economic pressures to convert their forests and their relationship with partners gave them the resources to respond.

Working together as a community to develop structures and mechanisms in order to achieve the common goal of protecting their forests has strengthened governance in the region. The successful protection of their forests has enhanced their ability to continue to practice their traditional farming methods that depend on healthy forests for the ecosystem services they provide thereby creating resilience.

REDUCED INEQUALITIES

The Ntakata Mountains project recognizes that local forest communities are often the most effective conservationists but that they have historically lacked the ability to financially realise the value of their natural assets. The project has been successful in channelling climate finance direct to Tanzania’s forest communities empowering them to protect their natural resources and determine their own developmental needs.

The success of the project is directly due to the involvement of the forest communities from the very beginning, starting with introductory meetings between the project developer and the project communities that focus on free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC). Participatory land use management then begins with the communities determining how their land use plans will be zoned and agreeing on boundaries. Once all community members agree to the established land use plans, the boundaries of the Village Land Forest Reserves are then demarcated to enhance protection and reduce conflict. The revenue generated from carbon credit sales is paid directly to the community members who determine how the revenue is to be shared, further reducing social inequalities.

One of the most critical factors in reducing inequalities is the establishment and strengthening of land rights and resource tenure over forested areas. The Ntakata Mountains project does this through the establishment of Village Land Forest Reserves - one of Tanzania’s legal land tenure agreements.

GENDER EQUALITY

Empowering women is a focus of the Ntakata Mountains project with opportunities to implement women's empowerment initiatives throughout project operations and benefit-sharing activities. Females are employed as accountants, Carbon Champions and as Village Game Scouts, which is traditionally a male role. There are also efforts to empower women through the Cocoba (Community Conservation Bank) initiative where over half of the members are female resulting in 91 female businesses started in 2021 with the support of carbon revenue.

Skalabilitas

The project’s success in delivering biodiversity and livelihood benefits to forest communities has been recognised by the Government of Tanzania. In July 2021 the Uvinza and Tanganyika District governments signed MOUs with the project developer, Carbon Tanzania and partners, to scale up the project to protect neighbouring Local Area Authority Forest Reserves – Tongwe East and Masito forest reserves. This project creates a protected area of 8500 km2 of Miombo woodland that provides habitat to the endangered eastern chimpanzee.

Dapat direplikasi

This results-based, community-led forest conservation model funded by sales of resulting carbon credits has the potential to be applied to forested lands across the developing world where indigenous and local ownership of natural resources is established. Empowering forest communities to sustainably manage their forests addresses climate justice issues by giving forest communities agency to determine development priorities, rather than donors and foreign actors.
Identifying indigenous resource-owners in other parts of Africa would allow this approach to be replicated.