Rorya is one of new districts in Tanzania established in 2007. The district is a reflection of typical rural life in Africa South of Sahara where rural communities inhabiting dry woodlands and dependent on natural resources for their sustenance do not consider indigenous tree species as valuable resources of income. The study was conducted in the low lands of Rorya district-Tanzania to assess contribution of wild Acacia species for sustenance among rural communities. Ethnobtanical survey and standard sapling procedures were used for data collection and description of Acacia distribution patterns. Distribution and diversity of Acacia species is affected by multiple factors some of which could not be addressed by the arithmetic models employed in this study. Of all the sampled Acacia species, A. seyal ranked topmost as potential tree resource for a wider local and cross border market. Unlike other sampled Acacias, A. seyal has comparatively rapid biomass turnover within a short period. Density of A. seyal is much higher in swampy black cotton soils. Despite the economic potential of the species, significant proportion of Acacia woodlands is cleared annually for charcoal. Though Acacia seyal stumps coppices readily, combination of clearing and over grazing can convert the Acacia woodland to typical grasslands within a shorter duration of 20 years. At the same time, there is neither a conservation guideline nor land tenure arrangement in place for sustainable conservation. The study is recommending urgent legislative and land tenure reforms to control the current free access and encroachment that has nastily denuded the wood lands. Acacia being good source of pollen, commercial placement of bee hives is advocated as a supplementary economic activity in parallel with selling of wood fuel.
Key words: Acacia, Vachellia, Senegalia, sustainable development.
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