‘Land for Life’ Saving Lake Natron
At the foot of the active Oldoinyo L’engai Volcano, lies Lake Natron, the breeding site for East Africa’s flamingoes a wetland of great ecological importance, but under threat.
Twenty villages surrounding the Lake Natron area which is mapped between Longido and Ngorongoro Districts of Arusha are taking initiatives to save the lake and reinforce the protection of corresponding environment.
Together with the adjacent ecological landscape, the Lake Natron Basin, happens to be a Ramsar Site wetland of international significance, but which could also be facing environmental degradation threats.
“If we are not careful, the rather sensitive and drought prone Lake Natron ecosystem will be drastically affected by effects of climate change and global warming and already we are seeing invasion of alien weeds, destructive pests such as armyworms and locusts,” pointed out an ecological expert and researcher, Alais Morindat.
He was speaking at a meeting held in Longido District, involving representatives from the twenty villages of Lake Natron.
Areas Member of Parliament, Dr Steven Kiruswa warned that signs indicate prolonged drought period to affect the area later this year and with the onslaught of destructive pests, chances are grazing land will be affected and likewise livestock.
World Wide Fund for Nature and the Tanzania People and Wildlife recently funded the project meant to clear all invasive species in the precinct.
Those rural hamlets located within the precinct are among the local settlements covered under the ‘Land for Life’ project, whose Supervisor, Amani Shipella of WWF, said it targets sustainable environmental conservation.
Land-for-life is implemented by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Tanzania in collaboration with Tanzania People and Wildlife (TPW) and funded by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and WWF UK at the cost of 3 million Pounds.
It is a three-year transboundary project implemented in the Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania Landscape specifically in tacking human wildlife conflicts and improve people’s livelihood.
The Lake Natron Ecosystem was described to be one of the key areas in Tanzania as a source of revenue for the government, vast wildlife within the area and other natural resources and most importantly the people’s livelihoods.
The project thus aims to improve Rangeland management to ensure availability of resources, support communities in mitigating Human-wildlife conflict mitigation.
That is accomplished through the construction of improved bomas, Development of sustainable environmental-friendly enterprises with improved market links and Strengthening governance structures in natural resources management.
Longido district in Tanzania and Loita Forests of Kenya are the two transboundary areas that are set to benefit from the Land for Land project.