Participatory Forest Management (PFM) and the more recent framework for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) are two resource management strategies that were introduced in part for their cobenefits, including forest protection, employment opportunities, and added income for forest adjacent communities. In this paper we examine the early implementation of PFM in Tanzania's Kilwa District, led and promoted by the nongovernmental organisation Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI). This organisation has also recently received support to design a REDD+ project that could potentially realise additional financial benefits for local communities through the sale of carbon offsets in PFM-supported villages. We explore the ways in which MCDI has established a PFM scheme in four villages, how it has supported the emergence of more robust local governance structures, and what villagers perceive to have been the main outcomes and pitfalls of PFM to date. MCDI has managed to reduce many of the challenges that have characterised PFM schemes in other contexts, such as conflicts arising from forest governance restructuring, elite capture, and illegitimate benefit sharing, but has been less successful in addressing some aspects related to participation, such as involving village hamlets and women more effectively in decision making due to spatial configuration of landscapes and settlements and to existing cultural norms. These insights suggest that well-implemented PFM can provide a solid foundation for REDD+ implementation but that full realisation of REDD+'s equitable benefit-sharing principle, particularly at the intracommunity level, may take time and will be dependent upon prevailing local cultural norms.
- Participatory Forest Management
- benefit sharing