Economic Botany

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 328–343 | Cite as

Differential utilization and ethnobotany of trees in kitulanghalo forest reserve and surrounding communal lands, eastern tanzania

  • Emmanuel J. Luoga
  • E. T. F. Witkowski
  • Kevin Balkwill


This study documents the utilization aspects and distribution of ethnobotanical knowledge of the local people of Morogoro, Tanzania, as a first step towards sustainable utilization and conservation of tropical woodlands. A total of 133 arborescent species in 31 families was identified of which 69% had a variety of uses. These uses were classified into 12 categories and major uses were charcoal, firewood, medicine, and poles. Most tree species have occasional uses, but a few are exceptionally useful and thus their levels of utilization may far exceed their regeneration and production. The questionnaire survey indicated that 62% of the respondents agreed that traditional medical services were more available than modern services. Utilization surveys indicated that wooden poles are the building material used in 98% of the dwellings and storage structures, wild foods were useful for food security especially during drought years, and high quality timber trees have been depleted in the forest because of earlier exploitation by pit-sawing. The distribution of ethnobotanical knowledge indicated that much of the relevant ethnobotanical and utilization information was held by more aged members of the society and hence there is a clear need to capture this knowledge before it is lost. This study has shown that resources are defined by use and culture, and some components of ethnobotanical knowledge have potential for the sustainable management of miombo woodlands.

Key Words

indigenous knowledge miombo woodlands participatory rural appraisal Tanzania tree use values 

Utilisation differentielle et ethnobotanique des arbres de la reserve du kitulanghalo et des terrains adjacents a l’est de la tanzanie


L’étude porte sur les différentes utilisations, distributions ainsi que la connaissance ethnobotanique de l’ethnie locale du Morogoro en Tanzanie, comme première étape vers une meilleure utilisation et conservation des régions forestières tropicales. Un total de 133 espèces arborescentes ont été identifiée, 69% des 31 familles font l’objet de diverses utilisations. Ces utilisations sont classées en 12 catégories. Les principales utilisations sont le charbon, le bois de chauffe, la médecine. La majorité des espèces d’arbre sont utilisées occasionellement mais certaine sont très utiles et ainsi leur niveau d’utilisation dépasse de loin de taux de production et de régénération. Le questionnaire indique que 62% des personnes interrogées préfèrent la médecine traditionnelle plus accessible que celle moderne. Le bois est surtout utilisé comme matériaux de construction dont 98% pour maison et le stockage. La nourriture sauvage a été très utile pour l’hygiène alimentaire, spécialement durant les années de sécheresse et de forte exploitation forestière. La distribution de la connaissance ethnobotanique indique que la majorité des informations sont tenues par les personnes agées de la société et il est impératif de conserver cette connaissance avant qu’elle ne soit définitivement perdue. Cette étude a montré que les ressources sont définies par l’utilisation et la culture. Certaines parties de la connaissance ethnobotanique sont alors nécessaire pour une bonne exploitation des régions boisées du miombo.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY 10458-5126 U.S.A 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel J. Luoga
    • 1
  • E. T. F. Witkowski
    • 1
  • Kevin Balkwill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal, Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3GautengRepublic of South Africa

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