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Land and Resource Tenure Rights
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS


For many rural populations in Sub-Saharan Africa, land, forests, and other natural resources are vital to social, political, and economic life. They are often sources of livelihood, nutrition, and employment- being the basis for security, status, social identity, and political relations. For many rural people, their land also has cultural and spiritual significance.

In order to protect biodiversity, it is essential to maintain families’ rights to land and resources through strong rights and secure tenure. This task group works to promote local development and enable more effective conservation through enhancing land and resource tenure rights.

Activities & Achievements

In its second programmatic phase, ABCG members are focusing on three critical ecosystems: Greater Mahale Ecosystem, Tanzania (TNC, JGI); Northern rangelands, Tanzania (AWF, WRI); and Mai Tatu Forest Block, Democratic Republic of Congo (WCS, WWF). These ecosystems are anchors for biodiversity that support the livelihoods of local populations. Strengthening rights and securing tenure are central to biodiversity conservation.

Six ABCG members are paired to work in three regions:

Southern Tanzania- AWF and WRI

In this year, a systematic review was conducted of the approaches used and available by villages to aid in implementing Village Land-Use Plans (VLUPs), especially efforts to secure and protect the common property in their Village Land.

Western Tanzania- TNC and JGI

Land use planning and capacity building work is being completed through training District staff and donating equipment to the Departments of Land and Natural Resources of Mpanda and Uvinza districts.

In the Mpanda district, land use planning work was conducted in order to issue Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs) to land owners.

In addition, staff from Mpanda District and Uvinza District were trained on Participatory Land Use Management (PLUM), Participatory Forest Management (PFM) and on the process of issuing CCROs using GIS software. After these trainings, the Districts are now ready to implement the remaining activities under the LRTR task group.

Democratic Republic of Congo- WCS and WWF

At Kabobo National Park, the task group engaged local communities to support legal gazettement of the park by then engaging stakeholders to create a representative coordination board. The group included traditional chiefs, civil society, the forestry department, and the local administration. Local communities identified different resources that they would like to access within the comanaged gazetted area, which is currently in the process of becoming a protected area.

News & Related Resources

April 2019 Quarterly Digest

A compilation ABCG's recent news, publications, upcoming events and past event resources. 

Championing for Community Involvement in Conservation: Peter Veit Shares

Peter Veit’s interest in nature dates back over 45 years ago. As a young boy he enjoyed interacting with animals and had always thought of a career in conservation. It was this interest that drew him to study animal behaviour, specifically marine mammals (elephant seals, spinner porpoise and humpback whales), for his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Making Community Forest Enterprises Deliver for Livelihoods and Conservation in Tanzania

A critical issue in community-based forest management is the ability of rural communities to support their economic development and add value to local forest uses by developing local forest-based enterprises. During the past decade, community involvement in forest management and conservation in Tanzania has gradually shifted beyond a focus solely on local subsistence use, to a range of commercial initiatives and ventures involving community forest products. This study carried out by Maliasili under the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group's Land and Resource Tenure Rights working group documents emergent community forest enterprises in Tanzania and their impacts on forest conservation and the livelihoods of local communities. The study does this by providing detailed case reviews of three different models of community forest enterprise.

Why Securing Community Land Rights Should Become a Global Priority

Indigenous people and other rural communities inhabit more than 50 percent of the world's land, across all continents except Antarctica. Their stewardship of Earth's natural resources supports as many as 2.5 billion people with food, water, fuelwood and other life essentials. Less well-known, but also vitally important, is the role of community land in global efforts to avoid runaway climate change and achieve sustainable development.

An In-Depth Analysis of the Land Tenure Status, Socio-Economic and Biodiversity Profiles: Kilombero Cluster, SAGCOT, Tanzania

The Kilombero Cluster supports a wide range of important global biological diversity and is regarded as an ecological bank with its abundant natural resources, including wetlands, wildlife, fertile soils, forests and water catchment areas. It inhabits the Kilombero Valley Flood Plain, a World Heritage site, which is one of the Africa’s largest river basin joining the Great Ruaha, Rufiji and Luwegu rivers. Further, Kilombero Ramsar Site, Teak forests, Udzungwa Mountains National Parks, Selous Game Reserves, and Kilombero Game Controlled Area that serves as a wildlife corridor between the Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi and Udzungwa National Parks, are also part of the Kilombero Cluster.

More News & Resources