Reforestation planning in the West Usambara Mountains of Tanzania

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Title: Reforestation planning in the West Usambara Mountains of Tanzania
Author: Halperin, James J.
Advisors: Dr. Theodore Shear, Committee Chair
Dr. Heather Cheshire, Committee Member
Dr. Thomas Wentworth, Committee Member
Abstract: Rural reforestation planning is critical to the success of many conservation initiatives in the humid tropics. Although often neglected, careful planning can have a profound impact on the success or failure of such initiatives. The first step in developing a conservation intiative is to accurately quantify existing forest resources for prioritization of areas for intervention efforts. Next, planners must consider the interaction of people and environment to develop site-specific plans which maximize potential sustainability. This thesis develops a reforestation planning methodology for communities adjacent to mountain rainforests in Tanzania. The forests within this 2,200 km2 mountain range harbor many endemic species and provide critical water catchment protection. The study first quantifies forest distribution using LandSat 7 ETM satellite image data for one of the more signifcant ranges in the Eastern Arc Mountains, the West Usambaras. The study then describes forest fragmentation using a variety of landscape metrics. The planning process then focuses on one watershed, the Mkolo River drainage in the southeastern West Usambaras. Using GIS and remote sensing techniques, this study incorporates environmental needs assessments, forest regeneration potential, and socioeconomic requirements of local communities to account for the varying services that tree planting provides. This study accounts for these services accounted in a spatially explicit forestry intervention need index (FINI). This multi-stage assessment of natural resource distribution and use develops a procedural methodology that is critical in planning and implementing reforestation projects in species-rich tropical regions.
Date: 2002-12-19
Degree: MS
Discipline: Forestry

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