The Kawetire forest plantation is located in the Mbeya district Mbeya Region and is in the North Usafwa and part of the Mbeya Range Forest reserves. The forest area is on the northern and north eastern part of the Municipality of Mbeya and the proper Kawetire is at latitude 8030’ south and longitude 33031’ East. The Mbeya peak forest is about 12km west of Kawetire and lies at latitude 8049’ south and longitude 33029’ east.
Access to the forest project is directly from Mbeya through the Mbeya – Chunya – Itigi road. The plantation office is 13km along this road. The road is accessible throughout the year up to the plantation office. At present the road is under construction to make it a tarmac road.
The North Usafwa Forest Reserve which has within it the Kawetire Forest Plantations was established as Territorial Forest Reserve in 1942 (GN No. 157) and the boundaries of the reserve were originally recorded on map JB 45. The present Forest Reserve has 2807 ha excluding Lwanjiro range and is shown in map JB 2108 (GN 479) deposited with Division of Land in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. The Mbeya Range Forest Reserve in which have 16452 ha (JB 2223) contains the Mbeya Peak plantations is depicted in JB 2451.The Mbeya Range Forest Reserve.
The first plantations were established in 1937 at Ipinda now in the North Usafwa Forest Reserve. The initial species were C. lustanica and E. maidenii for construction of timber and props in the Gold mine at Chunya respectively. Introduction of other species like P. patula, P. radiata and P.canariensis was at first done in 1950. Gravelia robusta was planted in 2002 and extension of the forest plantation at Kawetire was done in 1957 and 1974 for Mbeya Peak.
188.8.131.52 Division of the plantation
The plantation is divided into four ranges namely Kawetire, Ipinda, Mbeya Peak and Lwanjiro. The plantation is divided into the mention ranges for easy management of the resources. The Kawetire range has 1100ha this include unplantable area of about 293.8ha and the rest is planted with Pinus patula.
Ipinda range has the total area of 1707ha. This includes 198.5ha of unplantable area, 1132ha of Natural forest and 376.5ha of Compartment area is planted with Pinus patula, and Eucalyptus meidenii which is mainly obtained through coppice.
Moreover the Mbeya Peak range has a total of 438ha with Pinus patula stand. Most of the of the stand is obtained through natural regeneration where by singling is done to ensure spacing of the trees