Mtibwa plantation is situated in Morogoro Region.It is linked by Morogoro-Handeni road. It is about 110 km from Morogoro town along the Morogoro – Dumila –Handeni road Its located in the the slopes of Nguu Mountains, in eastern side in Mvomero District. . It lies between latitude 60 -60 10’S and longitude 370 40’ -370 -45’ E. It is surrounded by four villages namely: Dihinda in the North East, Lusanga in the East, Kunke in South West and Madizini in the South . There is a private airfield owned by Mtibwa sugar Estate for light aircrafts and helicopters situated just 5 km from the forest station which makes accessibility easy
Prior to the establishment of teak plantation in the area, the area was covered by a closed lowland wet forest dominated by indigenous hardwood tree species. In 1936 Teak was introduced at Mtibwa block as a small trial plot of 8 acres, other experimental plots were established in 1954, 1955 and 1957 at Lusunguru block. Large scale planting started in 1961 at Mtibwa block where compartment number 1 having 38.6 ha was established. Planting continued annually up to 1971 when the whole block was completed. Failures which occurred were replaced by cedrella ssp. From 1972 onwards, planting was confined to Lusunguru block, with annual fluctuations caused by lack of funds. Seventeen (17) Managers headed the plantation since the plantation started (Appendix VI)
1.2.2 Legal status and ownership
Mtibwa plantation is territorial forest reserve. The plantation is owned by Tanzania Forest Service (TFS). It was gazetted through Government Notice No 213 of 1944.Currently it is owned by Tanzania Forest services (TFS) under Government notice 269 of 2010.
Mtibwa forest occupies a total area of about 3115.6 ha. The plantation land is divided into two main blocks or forest reserves and these are separated by a narrow strip of public land as detailed below:
Mtibwa block/ forest reserve
- Total area is 1023.6 ha -33%
- Plantable area 847.44 ha
- Planted area 847.44 Ha (Table1 Page5)
Lusunguru block/forest reserve
- Total area 1253.11 ha - 40%
- Plantable area 1253.11 ha
- Water logged and rocky area 986.14 ha – 47% of Lusunguru and 31% of total FR area
- Planted area 771.42 ha 36%
- Area available for extension 510 ha - 39% of Block plantable area and 16 of plantation area
- Total plantation plantable area 2129.28 ha
- Total planted area 1618.86ha - 51% of plantaion area and 75% of plantable area
The plantation lies approximately 640 m.a.s.l. Topographical features on the two forest blocks are not uniform. Mtibwa block is almost flat while Lusunguru block is dominated by gentle slopes and a number of low lying hills.
1.3.3 Geology and soils
The plantation land is underlain by gneiss rocks (lower basement complex) which outcrops on the Lusunguru low lying hills. The soils in Lusunguru are smooth and are fairly strong compacting. They are progressively more fertile down the catena. The soils of Mtibwa block are alluvial and fertile. Also more fertile down the catena, the soils are rich in calcium and have PH of between 5 to 8, though PH 6-7 is more common throughout the plantation area. The soils in Mtibwa and Lusunguru blocks have high capacities for water retention and at the same time very poor drainage.
Mtibwa block and northern western part of Lusunguru block (flanking Kirengezi river) were originally under ground water forests. The main tree species were Milicia excelsa, Khaya, Antiaris and Sterculia with an association of heavy undergrowth. All the valuable timber species were exploited. The areas of Mtibwa block were cleared of their natural vegetation for teak plantation.
A greater part of Lusunguru block is covered by moist miombo woodlands. Brachystegia with dense undergrowth of grass forms a greater part of the total tree population. The vegetation in the low-lying areas of Lusunguru block gives way to Acacia woodlands. The common tree species in the area are Khaya nyasica,Albizia gummifera,Combretum schumanni, Brachystegia species, Isoberlinia globiflora, Pterocarpus angolensis and Acacia sp.
1.3.5 Biodiversity potential
There is a general decrease of plants, animals and birds population in the area. This has probably been brought about by changes in their habitats (destructive) and human population. However there is a seasonal migration of birds in the area soon after long rains to feed on paddy fields.
The plantation and the nearby village of Lusanga were formerly getting water from Lunkhalwa River where the flow is annual. The supply was by gravity through aluminium pipes. This was enough to meet the demands for domestic use, nursery and fire fighting. Incidentally, all the water pipes have been stolen and taken away by unknown people. The intake and the main reservoir were left untampered.