Realising the promise of Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas

A new ESPA policy brief explores how Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas have changed people’s lives.

A new ESPA policy brief entitled “Realising the promise of Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas” has been published this month, reporting some of the key messages to come out of  the Poverty and Ecosystem Impacts of Payments for wildlife conservation
initiatives in Africa: Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas (PIMA) project. This project ran from 2013-2016 and was an interdisciplinary collaboration led by Prof. Katherine Homewood (UCL) which aimed to discover how Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas have changed people’s lives and their effects on wildlife and the environment. The brief forms part of the ESPA Policy and Practice Briefs series.


Tanzania’s Community Wildlife Management Areas (CWMAs) – originally called Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) – were intended to benefit both people and wildlife. However, for their first two decades, CWMAs have been characterised by land conflict, wildlife damage to people and crops, lack of tourism potential and high administration costs among other negative impacts. Can rethinking how CWMAs are run bring about the benefits once promised?

Key messages of this policy brief include:

  • Most CWMAs are not financially viable.
  • Rethinking the division of CWMA revenues could make them more financially and socially viable.
  • Giving CWMA villagers sustainable access to key natural resources will benefit rural livelihood security and reduce the potential for conflict.
  • Revenue sharing between CWMA villages should be based on negotiations between the villages, considering costs borne related to human-wildlife conflict, tourism investments, and land surrendered to CWMA.
  • Fair and transparent consultation and planning for new CWMAs will improve the likelihood of community buy-in.
  • Empowering villages to make changes to CWMA plans will make CWMAs more legitimate, and so more sustainable.
  • CWMAs should be established in areas with tourism potential, to increase their chances of financial sustainability.

Full Text

Realising the promise of Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas