The role of communities in sustainable land and forest management: The case of Nyanga, Zvimba and Guruve districts of Zimbabwe
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Forest benefit analysis is vital in ensuring sustainable community-based natural resources management. Forest depletion and degradation are key issues in rural Zimbabwe and strategies to enhance sustainable forest management are continually sought. This study was carried out to assess the impact of forests on communities from Nyanga, Guruve and Zvimba districts of Zimbabwe. It is based on a Big Lottery Fund project implemented by Progressio-UK and Environment Africa. It focuses on identifying replicable community forest and land management strategies and the level of benefits accruing to the community. Analysis of change was based on the Income and Food Security and Forest benefits, which also constitutes the tools used during the research. The study confirms the high rate of deforestation and the increased realisation by communities to initiate practical measures aimed at protecting and sustaining forest and land resources from which they derive economic and social benefits. The results highlight the value of community structures (Farmer Field Schools and Environmental Action Groups) as conduits for natural resource management. The interconnectivity among forests, agricultural systems and the integral role of people are recognised as key to climate change adaptation.