Nature-based Income Generating Activities (NIGAs) can enhance livelihoods of smallholder farmers and biodiversity conservation in highly degrading ecosystems. These practices are promoted by various development and conservation partners worldwide to combat land degradation and biodiversity loss. However, their adoption remains low for reasons not well understood by their promoters. This can largely be attributed to the failure of the promoters to recognise and acknowledge the perceptions and priorities of target communities. We use the case of Uluguru Mountains to investigate the perceptions of farmers regarding the NIGAs that have potential to enhance both livelihoods and biodiversity conservation. Specifically, we use the Kendall’s Coefficient of Concordance (W)/Kendall’s tau, the Spearman correlation/Spearman’s (rho), and the Likert scale methods to identify the highly ranked NIGAs and test the hypotheses that: (a) the smallholder farmers in the study area did not agree among themselves about the ranking of potential livelihood and biodiversity-enhancing NIGAs, (b) the promotion of agroforestry has reduced the communities’ reliance on firewood, building poles and wood from the Uluguru Forest Reserve (UFR). We used the latter as an indicator of improved biodiversity conservation. We found that agroforestry and beekeeping were the highly ranked NIGAs and the communities in the study area had moderately reduced their reliance on timber products from UFR. We conclude that NIGAs can significantly enhance livelihoods and conserve biodiversity in mountain areas. However, future efforts to promote them should be guided by a thorough understanding and recognition of the real needs and priorities of target beneficiaries. This is imperative for winning their support and for designing the right outreach package.
Key words: Uluguru Mountains, Uluguru Forestry Reserve, Kendall’s coefficient of concordance, Likert scale analysis, nature-based income generating activities.
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