Forest Reserves

The forest reserve descriptions are from three reports:

Lovett, J.C. 1992. Main report of the Udzungwa Forest Management Project Identification Mission. Pp. 108 plus 16 technical annexes. Forest and Beekeeping Division, Ministry of Tourism, Natural Resources and Environment, and DANIDA. Dar es Salaam. The forest reserve descriptions are in the technical annex contributed by David Moyer.

Lovett, J.C. & T. Pócs. 1993. Assessment of the condition of the Catchment Forest Reserves, a botanical appraisal. Pp. 300. Catchment Forestry Report 93.3.

Lovett, J.C. & T.R.A. Minja. 2000. Ecological Assessment of the Catchment Forests of Monduli District. Report to Monduli District Council and NORCONSULT. Pp. 17.

The reserves covered are the Catchment Forest Reserves in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Morogoro and Iringa Regions. Reserves managed by projects, such as the Magamba Project and East Usambara Project, are not treated. The Iringa and Mufindi district descriptions also include District Forest Reserves. Any additions or amendments to the descriptions would be welcomed.

As some of the data was collected over 10 years ago it would be advisable to reconfirm any points of particular importance.


Based on existing maps, available information and field visits, descriptions of each reserve were compiled according to a standard format. The format used is given below:


Name of the forest reserve, with the name spelt as in the official gazettement notice.

Administrative location of the reserve by district and region.

Year of establishment. In many cases this is not clear, as a lot of forest reserves were established during the period of German administration and then declared again during the period of British Administration.

Declaration: Legal details of gazettement, including reference to the relevant Government Notice (GN) when possible. Otherwise reference is given to the Forest Ordinance cap 132.

Variation order: Legal details of any variation orders with reference to the relevant Government Notice (GN) when possible.


Border map: Details of border maps with their Jb number, scale and date.

Topographic maps: Sheet reference numbers to the national 1:50 000 map series.


Gazetted area: Area of the reserve in the official gazettement with conversion to hectares when necessary.

Measured area: Area of the reserve as measured by remote sensing or aerial survey when available.

Gazetted boundary length: Length of the reserve boundary as given in the official gazettement or border map schedule with conversion to kilometres when necessary.

Measured boundary length: Length of the reserve boundary as measured by remote sensing or aerial survey when available.


Latitude and longitude determined from 1:50 000 topographical maps.
Approximate distance in kilometres from the nearest towns.
Access to the reserve, or parts of the reserve.
A brief description of the area covered by the reserve with its elevation range.
When necessary, notes on errors of location of the reserve on the 1:50 000 topographical maps.


A brief description of the soils in the reserve, preferably using the UNESCO soil classification system.


Whether the climate is oceanic (i.e. relatively cooler and wetter due to proximity to the Indian Ocean); continental (i.e. relatively hotter with longer dry season and more variable annual rainfall); or convectional (i.e. receiving convectional rain from nearby lakes).

Nearest rainfall station from the CIAT/FAO list of rainfall stations in Tanzania.

Estimated rainfall is derived from nearest rainfall station data together with estimates based on the vegetation. Mist and ground water effects are noted. Dry season months are those with less than 50 mm of rain in a month. Estimated temperature is given for the elevation range noted.


A description of the vegetation is given, followed by more detailed accounts of each vegetation type. If elephant and/or buffalo occur or landslides are frequent, this is indicated. Names of plant species generally follow those used in the Flora of Tropical East Africa. The vegetation types used are:

Grassland: Area of grass where there is little or no woody vegetation.

Heath: Vegetation dominated by Ericaceous shrubs.

Woodland: Wet woodland is usually dominated by Brachystegia. Dry woodland is usually dominated by Acacia.

Forest: The forest types used are an elevation gradient of lowland, submontane, montane to upper montane; with wetter or drier types. Ground water forest grows on areas of ground water, often in rainfall lower than is normal for the species in it. Similarly, mist forest is supported by water derived from cloud and mist.

Actual altitudes and rainfall determining the different forest types is dependent on local variations in temperature and dry season length but an approximate summary is given in Table 1.

When vegetation types are known to be secondary or in an early successional stage this is indicated.


A brief description of the reserve’s catchment values is given, with notes on uses of the water originating from the reserve.


A brief description of the reserve’s timber values is given. Species of particular interest occurring in the reserve are mentioned.


A brief description of the reserve’s biodiversity values is given. Species of particular interest or as value as indicators of biodiversity are mentioned.

Eastern Arc forests are those forests on ancient crystalline mountains under the direct climatic influence of the Indian Ocean. The Eastern Arc mountains are, from south to north: Udzungwa, Mahenge, Rubeho (Usagara), Ukaguru, Uluguru, Nguru, Northern Nguru (Nguu), East Usambara, West Usambara, South Pare and North Pare in Tanzania and the Taita Hill in Kenya. Coastal forests are those forests on sedimentary deposits under the direct climatic influence of the Indian Ocean. Both Eastern Arc and Coastal Forests are known to generally have high biodiversity values with many species of restricted distribution.

Figure 1. Division of Tanzanian forests on the basis of geology and climate (from Lovett, 1990). Forest distribution is based on forest reserves containing closed forest formations. Coastal, Eastern Arc and Northern forests are under the direct climatic influence of the Indian Ocean, but Coastal forests are predominantly on sedimentary rocks, the Eastern Arc are on igneous and metamorphic rocks, and Northern forests are predominantly on volcanic areas (with the exception of the Mbulu highlands). Forests associated with the great lakes of Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa are subject to environmental fluctuations associated with variation in the local climates associated with these lakes. From Lovett, J.C. 1990. Classification and status of the moist forests of
Tanzania. Mitteilungen aus dem Institut für Allgemeine Botanik Hamburg,23a: 287-300.


A brief description of human disturbance and utilisation of the forest is given.


A brief outline of possible management needs is given. Potential management zones for the reserve are given according to the management zonation scheme given below.


Literature known to us on the reserve is cited. When possible copies of relevant literature have been made and deposited in the forest reserve file in the Catchment Forest office.


In a meeting in the Catchment Forestry Project on 10 May 1991 it was decided to recognise three zones (Catchment, Production and Amenity) with two areas which can be recognised within the zones (Biodiversity and Regeneration). Here we treat biodiversity areas as separate zones so that the following zones in catchment forests are recognised:

1. Catchment Zone.
2. Productive Zone.
3. Biodiversity Zone.
4. Amenity Zone.

The zones are based on the following criteria:


AIMS: The Catchment Zone exists to protect the natural catchment values of the forest and prevent erosion.
DEFINITION: The Catchment Zone is defined on two criteria, hydrology and slope:

1. HYDROLOGY: Two areas of hydrological importance are included in the Catchment Zone: the area 50 meters either side of streams; and the upper part of the catchment to the watershed ridge.
2. SLOPE: Slopes of greater than 40% are included in the Catchment Zone.

MANAGEMENT: Within the Catchment Zone there should be no harvesting or other disturbance of natural vegetation except in regeneration areas where climax forest cover is being regenerated under standard management practices.


AIMS: The Productive Zone exists to produce timber and other forest products at a sustainable level.
DEFINITION: The Productive Zone is all that part of the reserve not included in the Catchment Zone, Biodiversity Zone and Amenity Zone.
MANAGEMENT: Within the Productive Zone exploitation of the timber resources and other forest products is permitted according to established procedures for selective harvesting. Mechanical logging is not permitted. Exploited areas will be regenerated under standard management practices.


AIMS: The Biodiversity Zone exists to protect areas of high biodiversity or wildlife migration routes.
DEFINITION: The Biodiversity Zone will be defined on the basis of high biodiversity or the presence of natural wildlife migration routes.
MANAGEMENT: Within the Biodiversity Zone there should be no harvesting or disturbance of natural vegetation or wildlife other than for non-destructive research and educational programmes.


AIMS: The Amenity Zone exists to exploit areas of unusual topographic or other natural features for the purposes of education, recreation and research.
DEFINITION: The criteria defining the Amenity Zone will be according to the presence of unusual natural features which will be assessed for each reserve.
MANAGEMENT: Within the Amenity Zone visitor facilities should be developed such as paths, nature trails, basic cabins etc. There is no forest product exploitation within the Amenity Zone other than that linked to educational or research programmes.

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Last Updated: 20 March 2017