The Udzungwa Mountains landscape is an area of outstanding global importance for biological richness and endemism, being the largest and top-ranked mountain range within the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot for richness of endemic vertebrates and plants. The area also provides essential ecosystem services, including the water catchment function that provides water and electricity to millions of people in Tanzania. However, pressures on natural resources have increased and the Udzungwa Mountains remain highly threatened by deforestation, poaching, expanding agriculture and other threats to the protected forests.
Tanzania has one of the lowest-income economies in the world, yet Tanzania is one of the world's megadiverse countries and its outstanding biodiversity has important economic, technological and social implications. Tanzania's agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries sectors account for 65% of the country's GDP and 80% of total employment. The Udzungwa landscape is emblematic of the nation’s natural resource capital and socio-economic issues, as it represents the richest area for biodiversity, yet outside of the Protected Areas the landscape is densely populated, especially in the Kilombero valley which is one the country’s most productive areas for agriculture. As a result, the landscape is a mosaic of forest blocks interspersed in a matrix of multiple land uses, with increasing deforestation and erosion of natural resources.
Our shared vision and goal is to scale up resources and a range of ongoing conservation activities to ensure long-term protection of the landscape. Our short-term objective is to develop, by the end of 2023, a landscape conservation strategy and proposal for leveraging funding for the long-term protection of the Udzungwas.
The main final project deliverable will be a long-term strategy for protecting the Udzungwa landscape over the next 20 years. Within this strategy, a 10-year landscape protection strategy will identify and prioritise goals and actions required for the next 10 years; present agreed modalities, roles and responsibilities of key actors in the landscape to achieve these goals; and formulate a budget and
fundraising strategy to secure the resources needed to implement these actions. In addition, a detailed action plan with budget for the first three years will be presented, in order to rapidly begin the priority work required on the ground.
The project will also strengthen the collaboration and coordination of the coalition of partners working in the Udzungwa Mountains, and support shared learning between the partners. Long-term impact of the strategy implementation will result in enduring conservation of the landscape, thus preventing further deforestation.