Integrating the Value of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
in land use policies in the Rufiji River Basin


TanzaniaBanner_web© Rufiji River – Rob Atherton

Country Overview


Tanzania is one of the world’s megadiverse countries and its biodiversity has important economic, technological and social implications. Tanzania’s agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries sectors account for 65% of the country’s GDP and 80% of total employment. However, rapid population growth in both rural and urban areas, unplanned human and livestock migrations, habitat fragmentation, and overexploitation are eroding Tanzania’s environmental resources.

Tanzania’s Rufiji River Basin exemplifies the tensions between growth and environment. The Basin covers an area of 177,420 square kilometers and plays a critical role in Tanzania’s development plans, particularly as they relate to food and water security.


Project Overview

TEEB Tanzania will inform land use policies in the Rufiji River Basin. Many agriculture and water projects are planned in the basin as part of the government’s Big Results Now (BRN) Initiative. At the same time, there are competing water and land uses in the basin: activities such as afforestation of mountain grasslands, sugarcane farming, deforestation of mangroves, planned dam construction for irrigation, and pastoral livestock systems make it a challenge to sustainably manage the watershed.

TEEB will examine land use trade-offs in the basin and conduct scenario analyses to inform policies for prudent basin-wide management.



The study divides the Rufiji Basin into highlands, midlands, and lowlands:

  • The highlands regions of the basin are characterized by mountainous grasslands that are being replaced with trees for timber. TEEB will use scenario analysis to assess the impact of this afforestation on ecosystem services, particularly water provisioning.
  • In the midlands, a scenario analysis will be carried out to examine the impacts of community-based land use planning on livestock management.
  • The lowlands of the Basin are characterized by mangrove ecosystems that are under threat from deforestation and upstream water use, both of which affect water availability and quality. A scenario analysis in this area will examine the ecosystem services that mangroves provide, and the consequent loss of these services due to deforestation.

Ecosystem services focus

The ecosystem services assessed will vary by region. Some examples are provided below.

For the mountain highlands

foodProvision of food: changes in livestock production due to the reduction of grasslands will be assessed by comparing business as usual (afforestation) with alternate scenarios. The study will also account for cases where the business as usual scenario produces food (e.g. fruit orchards).

For the midlands

fresh_water Provision of fresh water: changes in downstream water availability and quality (as a result of livestock management practices and/or the application of pesticides and fertilizers for crop cultivation) will be measured.

For the lowlands

foodProvisioning of food: the analysis will assess changes in fish and prawn production due to changes in habitat (such as deforestation of mangroves or changes in water quality and quantity), as well as changes in rice production.

Special features of TEEB Tanzania

  • TEEB will inform the ‘Big Results Now’ plan, which is critical to development and rural poverty alleviation in Tanzania.
  • Focus on policy recommendations and outputs that generate multiple, gender-sensitive co-benefits related to poverty alleviation and food security, consistent with ecosystem based management goals.

Factsheet: Managing Ecosystem Services in Rufiji River Basin – Biophysical Modeling and Economic Valuation


National Focal Point

Vice President´s Office

Host Institution

The University of Dar-es-Salaam


Other engaged actors: Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, President’s Office Planning Commission, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, Ministry of Water, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Tanzania Forestry Research Institute, Ardhi University, UNDP, Tanzania Forest Services Agency, and Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development.


TEEB_Diamond_Blk_TypeTEEB focal point

Salman Hussain, TEEB Coordinator – salman.hussain@unep.org
Kavita Sharma, Technical Expert, TEEB National Implementation kavita.sharma@unep.org



THIS project is funded by the EU


Latest Publications

Measuring what matters in agriculture and food systems: a synthesis

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) (2018). Measuring what matters in agriculture and food systems: a synthesis of the results and recommendations of TEEB for Agriculture and Food’s Scientific and Economic Foundations report. Geneva: UN Environment. Download report

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Scientific and Economic Foundations Report

The TEEBAgriFood ‘Scientific and Economic Foundations’ report addresses the core theoretical issues and controversies underpinning the evaluation of the nexus between the agri-food sector, biodiversity and ecosystem services and externalities including human health impacts from agriculture on a global scale. It argues the…

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TEEB Challenges and Responses

TEEB ‘s progress, challenges and responses towards mainstreaming the economics of nature. [ENG] [ESP]

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TEEB for Agriculture & Food Concept Note

February 2014- The Concept Note presents the case for and proposed outline content of a TEEB for Agriculture & Food study.

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Natural Capital Accounting and Water Quality: Commitments, Benefits, Needs and Progress

December 2013 – The briefing note outlines existing guidance and examples on water quality accounting and identifies the ongoing challenges related to the development of natural capital accounting and water quality accounting. Inspired by the growing global focus on natural capital accounting, the note identifies the ongoing challenges related to the development of natural capital accounting and water quality accounting, in order to encourage debate and commitment towards effective water and biodiversity policy.

Read more