Understanding of Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous Institutions on Sustainable Land Management in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania


The paper is based on a study whose objective is to provide an understanding of the extent to which traditional knowledge and indigenous institutions for natural resource governance remain relevant to solving current land degradation issues and how they are integrated in formal policy process in Kilimanjaro Region. Data collection for this study combined qualitative and quantitative methods. A total of 221 individuals from households were interviewed using a structured questionnaire; 41 in-depth interviews and 24 focus group discussions were held. Findings indicate that the community acknowledges that there is traditional knowledge and indigenous institutions regarding sustainable land management. However, awareness of the traditional knowledge and practices varied between districts. Rural-based districts were found to be more aware and therefore practiced more of traditional knowledge than urban based districts. Variations in landscape features such as proneness to drought, landslides and soil erosion have also attracted variable responses among the communities regarding traditional knowledge and indigenous practices of sustainable land management. In addition, men were found to have more keen interest in conserving the land than women as well as involvement in other traditional practices of sustainable land management. This is due to the fact that, customarily, it is men who inherit and own land. This, among other factors, could have limited the integration of traditional knowledge and indigenous institutions in village by-laws and overall policy process. The paper concludes by recommending that traditional knowledge and indigenous institutions for sustainable land management should be promoted among the younger generations so as to capture their interest, and ensure that successful practices are effectively integrated into the national policies and strategies.


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Kangalawe, R. , Noe, C. , Tungaraza, F. , Naimani, G. and Mlele, M. (2014) Understanding of Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous Institutions on Sustainable Land Management in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. Open Journal of Soil Science, 4, 469-493. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2014.413046.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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