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The Kilombero Valley lies at the intersection of a network of protected areas that cross Tanzania. The wetlands and woodlands of the Valley, as well as the forest of surrounding

The Kilombero Valley lies at the intersection of a network of protected areas that cross Tanzania. The wetlands and woodlands of the Valley, as well as the forest of surrounding mountains are abundant in biodiversity and are considered to be critical areas for conservation. This area, however, is also the home to more than a half million people, primarily poor smallholder farmers. In an effort to support the livelihoods and food security of these farmers and the larger Tanzanian population, the country has recently targeted a series of programs to increase agricultural production in the Kilombero Valley and elsewhere in the country. Bridging concepts and methods from land change science, political ecology, and sustainable livelihoods, I present an integrated assessment of the linkages between development and conservation efforts in the Kilombero Valley and the implications for food security. This dissertation uses three empirical studies to understand the process of development in the Kilombero Valley and to link the priorities and perceptions of conservation and development efforts to the material outcomes in food security and land change. The first paper of this dissertation examines the changes in land use in the Kilombero Valley between 1997 and 2014 following the privatization of agriculture and the expansion of Tanzania’s Kilimo Kwanza program. Remote sensing analysis reveals a two-fold increase in agricultural area during this short time, largely at the expense of forest. Protected areas in some parts of the Valley appear to be deterring deforestation, but rapid agricultural growth, particularly surrounding a commercial rice plantation, has led to loss of extant forest and sustained habitat fragmentation. The second paper focuses examines livelihood strategies in the Valley and claims regarding the role of agrobiodiversity in food security. The results of household survey reveal no difference or lower food security among households that diversify their agricultural activities. Some evidence, however, emerges regarding the importance of home gardens and crop diversification for dietary diversity. The third paper considers the competing discourses surrounding conservation and development in the Kilombero Valley. Employing q-method, this paper discerns four key viewpoints among various stakeholders in the Valley. While there are some apparently intractable distinctions between among these discourses, consensus regarding the importance of wildlife corridors and the presence of boundary-crossing individuals provide the promise of collaboration and compromise.

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    by John Patrick Connors

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