The Usambara mountains are home to many of Tanzania’s endemic species of wildlife. They are also a critical watershed for many villages and cities, including Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam. Despite this, the Usambara mountains have experienced some of the worst deforestation in the region as a rapidly growing population converted much of the land for agricultural use. For over 20 years, this deforestation has led to a loss of biodiversity habitat, increased regional drought and soil erosion, and destabilized water supply for surrounding communities.
From 2001 to 2017, Tanzania lost 2.19 million hectares of tree cover, equivalent to a 8.3% decrease since 2000. Loss of tree cover on Kilimanjaro and other East African mountains has been linked to lower rainfall patterns and increased temperatures. Wildfires are occurring more frequently on the mountain, accelerating the destruction of forests. Because there are now fewer trees to trap water from clouds, the annual amount of dew on the mountain is believed to have fallen by 25 per cent. Glaciers in the region have decreased by 80% since the 1990s.
Most of the population in these mountainous areas live and work on small farms. They will be hit first, and hardest, by the effects of climate disasters such as floods and wildfires. By working together with these communities, this project seeks to empower local people with education, tools, and economic incentives to make positive change, protect their future and save the unique mountain ecosystems in the region.
This project engages with local families and farmers, teaching them and raising awareness about how properly managed lands can benefit both them and the forest.
The Usambara Mountains is one of the most ecological diverse regions in Africa. Planting trees allows local species to thrive, ensuring the region remains full of beautiful wildlife!
The mountains in receive more rain than lowland areas and play a key role in capturing, storing and purifying water. Protect mountain forests, protect the region's water supply!
Share the story of Tanzania's precious forests!