Socio-economic Outcomes of Gendered Participation in Forest Management in Tanzania


  • Pilly Silvano Department of Geography, University of Dar es Salaam


Gender, Participation, forests, community based forest management, Tanzania


Prio to the 1980s, centralized forest management policies in many African countries, including Tanzania, excluded local communities, particularly women, from participating in the management of their forests. In response, participatory forest management (PFM) approaches—including community-based forest management (CBFM), and joint forest management (JFM)—were introduced to empower local communities to participate in forest management and benefit from their forests. Building on existing analysis that highlights more on the impact of PFM on forest conditions, governance and livelihood, this paper examines the socio-economic outcomes of gendered participation in forest management in Kilwa District, Tanzania. Through the feminist political ecology perspective, and utilizing a mixed method approach, it aims to assess the significance of gendered participation in CBFM for achieving improved socio-economic outcomes. The findings indicate that increased gendered participation in CBFM activities increases gendered awareness and understanding of forest-related issues, reduces gender-related conflicts, strengthens social networks and enhances equity in benefit-sharing at the community level. However, these are less achieved at the household level. The distribution of economic benefits to individuals has been hindered by the absence of a well-defined benefit sharing arrangements and the dominance of elites in capturing forest benefits. The paper concludes that increased gender participation in CBFM activities has more social benefits outcomes than economic benefits to women. It recommends revising forest regulations to ensure more economic benefits flow to individuals, thereby incentivizing active participation in forest management. Additionallly, gender specific interventions should be implemented to empower both men and women with alternative sources of income to enhance their economic wellbeing, while safeguarding the sustainability forest resources.