WASHINGTON, DC—In late November, a USDA Forest Service technical team worked alongside colleagues in Tanzania to explore ways that local communities around Lake Tanganyika might benefit from multi-use forest management while still meeting conservation objectives of chimpanzee conservation and watershed protection.
The region of Tanzania that runs north–south along Lake Tanganyika represents the southernmost reach of chimpanzees in Africa. This rugged landscape faces tremendous development pressures—Tanzania has one of the highest population growth rates in the world—and this part of the country, which was mostly intact forest as recently as a few decades ago, is an attractive destination for many seeking land for agriculture and grazing.
The Jane Goodall Institute has worked with local communities in this region for years to co-design and formalize government-sanctioned land use plans in a way that preserves contiguous stretches of critical chimpanzee habitat while providing communities with agency over their resources. Thanks to support from the US Agency for International Development in Tanzania, the Forest Service is working with the institute, its partner communities and the government of Tanzania to contribute land planning expertise to this process. The guidance from the seasoned Forest Service team helped USAID and the institute complete environmental assessments and ensure chimpanzee habitat is preserved.
The technical team included both active duty and retired Forest Service employees Joe Krueger, acting planning director, Region 8; Timory Peel, regional planner, Region 1; Josh Milligan, forest plan revision team leader, Salmon-Challis National Forest; and Nancy Warren, Region 2 retiree.