|Town/Region||Pugu Forest Reserve|
|Country||Tanzania, United Republic of|
|Date||14 Dec 2004|
Pugu forest reserve has an area of 2179 hectares, like other coastal forests the area is an important conservation priority due to its high level of species endenism. Despite its fame that it is among the oldest forests in the world and one with many endemic species, Pugu forest is likely to perish due to a frightening level of damage caused by excessive removal for charcoal, unsustainable logging and firewood collection. Mining of kaolin is another destructive activities as the reserve encloses one of the world’s largest kaolin deposits. Pugu forest has been identified as global biodiversity hotspot therefore in need of conservation.
The project aims to provide protection for the threatened Pugu forest through conservation efforts and developing alternative resource bases for local community. The project will involve local communities in developing and implementing a set of viable income alternatives, which could minimize pressure on the existing Pugu forest reserve. The strategies to be involved will include environmental education for conservation awareness raising, establishment and support of community conservation committees, establishment of village tree nurseries, and agro forestry activities. Sustainable use of the forest such as recreation and ecotourism will be developed together with sustainable utilisation of woodland outside the forest reserve.
This conservation work will be carried out by a team of environmental conservationists from the Coast Women Environmental Conservation and Poverty Eradication Organization (COWEPO), an NGO that has been working for conservation of forest habitats in the Coast Region since 2001. The team intends to develop environmental education campaigns aiming to raise conservation awareness throughout the Coastal region and mobilisation of community based natural resources management.
These conservation strategies will ensure protection of the forest and continuous supply of tangible benefits to the community without affecting or reducing species richness distribution and the habitat ecosystem as a whole. Project's achievements will be communicated to policy makers at various levels in the country, the popular national mass media and to the Rufford Small Grant Foundation.