Community level patterns of landscape services across multifunctional landscapes in rural Tanzania

Authors and Affiliations: 

Nora Fagerholm1), Salla Eilola1), Danielson Kisanga2) Vesa Arki1), Niina Käyhkö1)

1) University of Turku, Department of Geography and Geology2)
University of Dar es Salaam, Department of Geography

Corresponding author: 
Nora Fagerholm

The ecosystem service framework has gained ground as an integrated framework to study the relations between ecosystems and people. One of the current challenges with this framework is to address the complex dynamics, interactions, resilience, and adaption of structure-function-benefits chains in socio-ecological systems. Therefore, landscape services has been suggested as specification to the concept of ecosystem services to be used especially in the analysis of these flows into provisional and cultural benefits and to be applied in community-based transdisciplinary, collaborative spatial planning. In assessment of landscape services, focus on place is especially important to reveal the actual spatial connections between people and the biophysical environment. Participatory mapping exercises are a powerful tool for grasping the socio-cultural realities of communities, regions, landscapes, and ecosystems. Since the beginning of 2000s these have increased in popularity in connection with the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and place-based ecosystem service assessment.
The aim of this paper is to establish practical understanding of the realisation of provisional and cultural landscape services at local scales in the Southern Highlands, Tanzania. Like most of the rural Tanzania, the region suffers from severe land management problems related to poverty, population growth, expansion of settlement and agriculture and cutting and overuse of forest resources. These driving forces of change relate to the complex, interdependent dynamics of physical, social, economic and cultural factors triggering land use changes at local scales.
We explore and compare place-based landscape services as perceived by local communities in multifunctional rural landscapes. Survey campaigns with community stakeholders (n=310) were organized in three study sites (villages), where semi-structured interviews were combined with participatory mapping to locate (as points) subjectively perceived values in the everyday landscape. The mapped values act as indicators for landscape service demand to quantify and explore their spatial patterns. The survey covers provisioning and cultural services through activities in the landscape (e.g. cultivation, harvesting) and values (e.g. aesthetics, cultural heritage) related to specific places or areas. Data is analysed statistically and spatially in GIS to construct an understanding of the community level patterns of landscape services. We will specifically look into the realizations of the benefits and seek to identify their key spatial structures, dynamics, resilience, emerging practices and potential adaptation strategies in response to severe land management challenges of the region. Based on the spatial patterns and socio-economic characteristics we identify key spatial profiles in which beneficiaries demand the ecosystem services at the local scale.
The authors find the discussion related to the ecosystem service framework and landscape in the context of Tanzania may give insights and enrich discussions in European context.



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