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Sacred Mangrove Forests: Who Bears the Pride?

  • Mwita M. Mangora
  • Mwanahija S. Shalli
Chapter

Abstract

While mangroves have since been regarded as natural wastelands, the need for their conservation is strongly felt today as their invaluable services and functions are being unveiled primarily due to increasing demand for their products and the forest land. Appraising various models of management institutions to enhance conservation and sustainability of these valuable resources has thus been advocated over the recent past. Social taboos exist in most cultures, and they demonstrate forms of informal institutions, where traditional norms, rather than state institutions (laws, regulations), determine human behavior toward exploitation of natural resources. Despite the ill-recognition of these traditional management practices by the state organs, traditional communities have for centuries maintained these practices to ensure the survival of the forests on grounds of spiritual and ecological values. In this chapter we reviewed the state of knowledge of the functional conservation values of sacred mangrove forests in Tanzania and how they are being conceived as models for the promotion of community based conservation (CBC). The discussion is based on the perspectives of forest dependency, traditional access and use rights, traditional ecological knowledge, socio-ecological integration of culture and forest, and the traditional power relations. We argue that traditional people, who have maintained strong ties to their cultural norms and kept the sacred groves outshining the contemporary models of conservation, should bear the pride and honor in the renaissance of conservation tenets.

Keywords

Conservation Local Communities Mangrove Forests Traditional Knowledge 

Notes

Acknowledgement

The Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) provided the authors with financial support to present the first version of this chapter at the International Conference on Climate Change, Agri-Food, Fisheries and Ecosystems (ICCAFFE 2011) in Agadir, Morocco. We thank Dr. Christopher Muhando for providing us with a map in Fig. 1 from his GIS database. We extend our appreciation to the three anonymous reviewers for their critical comments that improved the conceptual content of the chapter.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Marine SciencesUniversity of Dar es SalaamZanzibarTanzania

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