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The objectives of the African Blackwood Conservation Project are:
1) To replenish stands of African Blackwood in Tanzania that are being lost due to commercial exploitation and natural degradation. Mpingo seedlings will be raised in a sheltered environment until they are hardy enough to withstand fire and drought and can be replanted into the wild. The goal is to raise 20,000 mpingo seedlings a year.
2) To educate Tanzanians about the ecological and commercial importance of mpingo with the aim of enlisting volunteer assistance in conservation efforts for the tree.
3) To influence individual Tanzanian citizens to raise mpingo on private and public lands. This could become a viable source of income for future generations and help raise the economic standard of the areas where it is planted.
4) To conduct research studies at selected pilot project sites beginning with the Moshi Mpingo Plot & Nursery which will attempt to:
a) ascertain the feasibility of raising mpingo in a managed care situation,
b) and discover the best methods of propagation, care and distribution.
5) To document the results of these studies in published reports which will present a model for future conservation efforts for this species.
It has been two years since the last newsletter was mailed in July, 1997, and we offer our apologies to our early contributors for skipping 1998. Several factors entered into the decision to delay the newsletter.
The weather in Tanzania was severely impacted by the El Niño weather phenomenon, as it was in many other parts of the world. In the last half of 1997, Tanzania suffered a period of drought. Then in the winter and spring of 1998, severe flooding occurred.
Mr. Chuwa was, in fact, trapped by flood waters and had to wait several weeks for the water to recede before he could make his way back home from his botanical work in the countryside.
As a result, progress on the ABCP was somewhat delayed. Sebastian potted more seedlings in the winter of 1997-98 but could do no further work on readying the one-acre Moshi Mpingo Plot because of the rains and floods. Finally, in late 1998, he was able to make major progress on the Moshi plot.
Barbed-wire fences have now been built and potted seedlings planted 15 months ago in the fall of 1997 were transported to the site and replanted. So now the one-acre site which will serve as the home base and model for much of our future work has now been established. In addition it was decided that since fundraising proceeds from the 1997 newsletter had been modest, time would be allocated to finding alternate means of support.
One such effort was promoting the ABCP website, and several substantial contributions came from this outreach effort. Also a limited appeal was sent to a small mailing list supplied by Sebastian. These were names of US citizens Sebastian Chuwa has guided on the wildlife safaris he conducts in northern Tanzania. These efforts attracted several significant contributions to the project.
As a result, sufficient funding has been sent to Sebastian to maintain the project and begin a large scale replanting effort, finding permanent locations for the African blackwood seedlings which were first sprouted in 1997. The following sections will bring the project up to date, along with a brief history and recapitulation of its early activities.
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ABCP Website maintained by
James E. Harris, © 2000.
Last revised 21 Apr 2008.