Indigenous Knowledge Systems for Climate Change Detection and Adaption Planning in Mountainous Areas in Tanzania

Kassim Ramadhani Mussa, Ibrahimu Chikira Mjemah


The study was carried out to gather perceptions and experiences of the Uluguru mountains communities on climate change and its impacts, and to understand their traditional innovations in detecting climate change and coping with the impacts. It took place in three villages of Luale ward namely Luale, Masalawe and Londo in Mgeta division, Mvomero district. Participatory research methods were employed in generating the perceptions, information and experiences about climate change, its impacts and community based adaptation strategies. Climate-related hazards were identified using traditional knowledge, skills and experiences. Historical timelines developed by the local people themselves revealed an increase in the frequency of drought incidences and shifting rainfall seasons, with unprecedented wildland fires devastating the study area. Community-based coping strategies as a response to the observed climate change impacts were also identified. However, the coping strategies practised by the traditional communities are mainly oriented towards survival, not continuous, motivated by crisis, reactive, often degraded the available resource base and are usually prompted by lack of alternatives. Therefore, local communities and traditional people in general need the support of the international community to continue their role as traditional caretakers of marginal and fragile ecosystems, at the same time, building their capacities to adapt to the impacts of the current and future changes of global and local climates using more proactive approaches integrated into their indigenous knowledge base.

KEY WORDS: Climate change, Traditional communities, Indigenous knowledge

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