The Eastern Arc Mountains are a crescent-shaped chain of cool, moist mountain islands that begin in the very southern tip of Kenya and continue down through Tanzania. Scientists call it the “Galapagos of Africa” for its high concentration of endemic species found nowhere else in the world. The Udzungwa Mountains are the largest and most biologically diverse block of the Eastern Arc.
The African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC) has been working since 1991 in over 200 villages in 7 mountain ranges in the Eastern Arc, alongside its field partner, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), to protect and restore some of the world’s oldest and most unique rainforests by improving the lives of local people.
In January 2015, the ARC visited the Udzungwa Mountains with Francis Fanuel, the TFCG Project Coordinator for the Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserves (USFR), and discussed the dire lack of funds and the rampant illegal logging, hunting, and wildfires. Additional resources are urgently needed to halt further loss of forest and biodiversity in the Udzungwa Mountains!
Short-term goals (6 months):
Train 31 primary school teachers from 11 different schools on environmental education
Teach environmental education to 2,500 primary school students
Establish 5 tree nurseries at the primary schools
Plant 5,000 trees at the primary schools
Environmental education given to primary school teachers and students will change the community's attitude towards the USFR. Over 20,000 people live around the USFR and are 100% dependent on these forests for survival. Therefore environmental education is crucial and will eventually lead to the support of alternative enterprises to illegal logging and charcoal production, like fish ponds, beekeeping, and butterfly farming to enable people to support themselves and their families through sustainable income activities that leverage renewable natural resources.