Assessment of Wildfires in Tanzania Forest Plantations: A Case of Sao Hill in Mufindi District
Keywords:Wildfires, Arsonism, Forest plantation, controlled burning, Fuel load
AbstractThe study investigated the wildfires in Sao Hill Forest Plantation (SHFP) in Mufindi District with a focus on causes, impacts, and challenges in fire-fighting. The inadequate data and studies on forest fires rationalized the choice of the study area. Mixed approach and a case study design were used. The sample of 45 respondents were purposively selected out of which 15 were key informants as an entrance point and 30 were other respondents snowballed as proposed by key informants. Descriptive and thematic analysis was used for quantitative and qualitative data respectively. Land preparation which involved clearing of forest harvest debris for tree replanting; slash and burning practice that farmers use traditionally for farm preparation was the major cause of wildfire in SHFP. The negative impacts outweighed the positive through the loss of trees which was ecologically and economically destructive. Inadequate facilities and community participation were the frequently mentioned challenges. The study recommended for the prerequisites in controlled burning to be followed, enhanced rational allocation of resources like equitable harvesting permits and farming land to avoid arsonism. More researches on biological means of land preparation are suggested to reduce fuel load through efficient technology and improved recovery.