Eriksen: The role of priority non-timber forest products in enhancing local adaptive capacity to climate change stresses in Kilombero district, Tanzania

Abstract: Climate change is among the key challenges that may influence livelihoods of people in Tanzania. Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) are among the forest products that serve as livelihood resources in the face of climate stresses. However, little is known on the extent to which NTFPs enhance the adaptive capacity of households adjacent to forests in the context of climate stresses. Based on fieldwork in Kilombero District, we investigated how households adjacent to forests use NTFPs as different forms of capital asset to support adaptation strategies for livelihood outcomes. Data were collected using socio-economic appraisal. Three NTFPs out of twelve – firewood, medicinal plants and thatch grasses – were identified as priorities because of their immediate importance for supporting households. Priority NTFPs contributed to human, financial and physical capital assets. They also contributed about 3% of the total household annual income. Income and expenditure of priority NTFPs was significantly influenced (p < .05) by age of respondent, household size, distance to resources, change in management regimes of forest and wooded grassland and household income. The households indicated they would use priority NTFPs to improve livelihoods outcomes. Findings in this study can inform policy and support decision makers to establish mechanisms in conservation rules and regulations to enable forest adjacent households to access the NTFPs.

Keywords: priority NTFPs, livelihoods, adaptive capacity, climate stresses, Kilombero District

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Published 1. December 2016 - 11:46 - Updated 23. May 2017 - 19:13