Nature Tanzania's CEPF-funded project at Amani

A pictorial update

Through a Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) funded project, Nature Tanzania is working with local communities from Mbomole and Shebomeza villages to remove a locally invasive tree species Maesopsis eminii, and plant indigenous tree species suitable for the survival of the Long-billed Forest Warbler, now estimated to be less than 250 individuals. The main goal of the project ‘Sustainable forest edge management for the conservation of the Long-billed Forest Warbler and endemic globally threatened biodiversity of the East Usambara Mountain in Tanzania’, is to restore and protect the edges of the forest by stopping the cutting of vegetation and controlling the spread of the invasive Maesopsis eminii tree. The Maesopsis tree inhibits growth of valuable natural vegetation which provides a home to many birds in the region. Twelve farmers with farm plots along the edge of the forest have allocated portions of their farm space for forest growth, reducing the negative impacts of human interference. In return, they received incentives such as training and inputs to produce spices. The plots also serve as an experimental mechanism to gauge the success for forest birds and chameleons returning to locations without the invasive tree. The community, led by local village government leaders have fully embraced the project by signing contractual 'conservation agreements' with Nature Tanzania. You can read the full article here.

To showcase the work at this Eastern Afromontane Key Biodiversity Area in Tanzania, here are a few pictures that tell this story even better. All text and images by Victor Mkongewa of Nature Tanzania.

You can also read the story published in the Tanzanian media here:


1. What it is all about

The breeding of forest birds was assessed in Nature Tanzania's "experimental plots" from September to December, 2018.  This image shows one of the nests found with two chicks.


2. You can't be young enough

Two young girls are eager to help their mothers plant trees in the name of conservation. Villagers bring their children to learn about environmental and cultural values.


3. Spice farming

Muheza District Agricultural officer Mr. Sylvester Mzirai provides instructions to participating farmer Mzee Jomo, about how to grow black pepper for the spice market.


4. Looking for chameleons

As part of the biodiversity monitoring activities, Nature Tanzania keeps a list of chameleons spotted in the area. They found the Usambara Giant Three-horned Chameleon in all the experimental plots this August (2019). Victor: "It was exciting to see the results shift from April to June, when fewer chameleons were recorded in all plots, most likely due to the cold season. At present,the chameleons are back in the plots in some numbers."


Also present this August is the Soft-nosed Chameleon, which was found in quite a few plots.


5. Boots

Victor: "Happiness comes in many shapes and sizes. These rain boots are essential for this farming community in Mbomole village. Yet at 20,000 to 30,000 Tanzanian shilings for a pair, they arehard to afford! Therefore, when our CEPF-funded project donated boots to these villagers, the village chairman was quick to act. The village formed a team/group at the experimental plots in order to increase sustainability and practice conservation. A small deed from us, led to a big deed by the local people, and a more positive environment overall."


The Mbomole village Chairman and the Mbomole village Executive Officer received the rainboots on behalf of the village. They also organized the entire group of community members, which included some members of the Environmental Committee, to assist with the project. Victor: "Maintaining consistency of the village's participation over time ensures that more and more people will understand and also benefit from the conservation activities they are undertaking. We hope this will sow the seeds for the future."


6. Training

Members of the village communities, including many women, during the training and awareness raising workshop organised by Nature Tanzania and its partners Tanzania Forest Conservation Group and Amani Nature Reserve.


7. Removing invasive species

Victor: "This amazing women’s team from Shebomeza village has been removing invasive plants in the experimental plots. I use the word “amazing” because instead of tending to family needs for the day, they spent 3-4 hours working with us on the experimental plots. That is true dedication to conservation. We are fortunate to enjoy working with the communities who in return give us peace."


8. Publicity

"Father Baruti, the main leader of the village community group known as Kihime Africa, is being interviewed by local reporters, Tanzania style. Notice the banana tree and black pepper in the background, all part of mixed crop farming to benefit the stakeholders involved in our conservation work. Thank you CEPF for making this all happen."


BirdLife International runs the Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) investment in the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot (2012 -2019). See the interactive map of all projects implemented under the CEPF Eastern Afromontane Hotspot programme here.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l'Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. More information on the CEPF can be found at