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Objectives of the ABCP

    The ABCP was founded by Sebastian Chuwa and James Harris in 1996 to replenish stocks of Dalbergia melanoxylon/African blackwood, that are being severely depleted due to over harvesting. Its programs include youth and adult education, tree planting, and encouraging community involvement in conservation of the tree.

    It also contributes to the empowerment of people within its target areas by providing a variety of other tree species to meet the domestic and commercial needs of the people, thereby helping them economically as well as helping their ecosystems recover from long-term degradation and deforestation.

researcher who has led several scientific expeditions to Lindi Region in southern Tanzania in an attempt to estimate remaining stocks of the tree. The MPC has also been working alongside the District Forestry Office in Kilwa, southern Tanzania, helping them to develop Participatory Forest Management (PFM) in the district. Under PFM, communities are encouraged to set aside some of the forest growing in their locality as a Village Forest Area (VFA), which will then be under the control of the village government. The particular focus of the MPC is on the management of high-value timber species, and especially mpingo, by local communities.

    The Darwin grant will support the setting aside of community forest areas in at least 6 villages in Kilwa District in which sustainable harvesting regimes will be implemented. It will support a program of applied research addressing critical issues for mpingo conservation, and raise awareness about mpingo and its conservation locally, nationally and internationally. Project outputs will include some national guidelines for best management of mpingo and other high value timber species under PFM in Tanzania, and a monitoring program to determine timber growth rates. MPC also hopes to oversee the first harvest of sustainable managed mpingo from their main areas of operation to a small-scale instrument manufacturer in the UK.

    Beyond the spotlight on timber, they are providing general technical and logistical assistance to the district in implementing PFM, and on-the-job training of staff in project management, IT and rapid forest survey techniques.

    The website of the Mpingo Conservation Project has more information at

Around the World in 80 People

    Sylvain Darnil and Mathieu Le Roux are two young Frenchmen with a vision for the future. Both were deeply inspired by the work of Muhammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, renowned for extending micro credit loans at low rates to people in impoverished countries to help create economic independence.

    Darnil and Le Roux viewed Yunus as a hero and began to develop the notion that there must be hundreds of such “heroes” scattered around the planet who were having an impact in improving life on earth. They decided to counter the deluge of catastrophes and depressing input that fills the daily news by finding and profiling people who see problems and invent solutions to solve them.

    So in September, 2002, they began a tour of the world to interview 80 people they had chosen who they thought were making a difference in the quality of life of the world’s citizens and the environment. Sebastian Chuwa was one of the “heroes” they chose. Their main goal was to show that a sustainable world can be created by applying new methods and convincing world citizens that they are potential change makers. A website was set up and now a book covering their travels has been published.

    In July, 2004, they visited Sebastian in Tanzania and saw his conservation and education projects. He is profiled in their book and on their website: The website is in French, but an English translation is on the ABCP website under “In-print Mentions” on the sitemap on the homepage.

    Mathieu and Sylvain decided they would like to offset the carbon emissions from their travel by plane and car during their trip. So in March 2005, they donated 500 Euros to the ABCP to plant mpingo trees to sequester carbon, and thus cancel the carbon released into the atmosphere through their travels by the growth of these trees.

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To the readers of our newsletter, Sebastian, and all his students and friends from Kibosho East, say in Kiswahili, “Asante sana, rafiki zetu!” (“Thank you very much, our friends!”).




ABCP Website maintained by James E. Harris, 2000.
Last revised 21 Apr 2008.