An integrated plan to conserve the Kwakuchinja Corridor, N. Tanzania
The Kwakuchinja corridor between Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve and Tarangire National Park is crucial to maintaining the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, recognised for its globally-significant biodiversity. Dominated by East African Woodland Savannah, the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem provides critical habitat for aquatic fauna and supports over 380 bird species including lesser and greater flamingo, white pelicans, yellow billed storks, diurnal birds of prey, and white-necked cormorants. Lake Manyara also provides habitat for resident and migratory wildlife including elephant, buffalo, lion, hippopotamus, impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, bushbuck, leopard, and baboon.
Much of the area’s biodiversity is sustained by wetlands and other water sources in the area, making the Tarangire-Manyara water catchments and wetlands critical ecological components of the region. Of similar importance is the Kwakuchinja corridor, which allows thousands of animals to migrate between the two national parks. Despite this, land-use changes and human activities in the Lake Manyara watershed and along the corridor are having profound impacts on ecosystem health and are directly affecting the ecological and economic viability of this system. The health of the corridor impacts wildlife conservation, National Parks, grazing regimes, and human livelihoods. Unless local people are shown they can make a living without cultivating rangeland, this vital wildlife habitat will be lost.
Nashon Macokecha is a District Game Officer who is using his experience of developing community-based conservation projects to create alternative sources of income and reduce poverty in the Kwakuchinja corridor. The corridor has been selected as one of four pilot sites for trial of the government’s new ‘Wildlife Management Area’ (WMA) policy, which aims to decentralise wildlife management to village level. Nashon is helping to put this new initiative in place by encouraging local people to develop sustainable biodiversity enterprises. By strengthening village capacity, Nashon is showing local communities how to manage and benefit from the natural resources around them.
Since receiving his runner-up prize in 2004, Nashon has helped to empower many pastoral households through workshops designed to help show families how to develop sustainable incomes through tourism, honey-production, women’s handicrafts and campsites. At the same time, zonation of some parts of the corridor has reduced the pressure on more sensitive areas, allowing recovery. Nashon is helping to ensure that part of the funds that have been raised will be reinvested in community development projects, including medical facilities, classrooms and water pumps, for the benefit of the whole community.