Gombe-Masito-Ugalla Ecosystem

Restoring ecosystems and improving lives in western Tanzania
Key Staff Members: 

The overarching goal of the Gombe-Masito-Ugalla (GMU) Program is to conserve biodiversity and protect and restore wildlife habitat in critical ecosystems in western Tanzania.

The GMU program helps local communities living near key chimpanzee habitat make a living in ways that do not destroy the forest. The program targets 52 villages  that surround the focus conservation area, which includes Gombe National Park in the north, Masito and Ugalla forests in the south and the corridor that joins the two ecosystems. The area is home to approximately 311,000 people who depend on fishing and farming as their primary economic activities.






In order to achieve our objectives in the GMU, JGI and its partners are:

  • Developing and implementing village land-use-plans;
  • Connecting forests though community-based forest management;
  • Identifying and slowing major drivers of deforestation;
  • Increasing capacity of local communities to manage forest fires through training, outreach and capacity building;
  • Increasing capacity of local government authorities to monitor the illegal extraction of forest resources;
  • Promoting environmentally friendly agricultural practices;
  • Expanding JGI’s HIV/AIDS awareness and education project; and
  • Raising local incomes with the implementation of environmentally friendly community enterprises.

Background / Issues

JGI’s community-centered conservation approach was developed in 1994 through the implementation of the Lake Tanganyika Catchment, Reforestation and Education (TACARE) Project.  Since then, TACARE has expanded into the Gombe-Masito-Ugalla Program.

The landscape of western Tanzania remains seriously threatened by unchecked development, unsustainable farming techniques, destructive and uncontrolled wildfires, and a lack of local capacity to establish and enforce more environmentally friendly land-use policies and practices.  Climate change and the increased environmental impact and decreased productivity that result from the HIV/AIDS epidemic are also having a significant impact on sustainable development and habitat preservation in the region.

GMU Landscape Includes:

  • 311,000 people who depend on fishing and farming as their primary economic activities.
  • Between 600 and 1,000 chimpanzees, 25 to 40 percent of Tanzania’s entire chimpanzee population;
  • Significant populations of other primates such as the red colobus monkey, blue monkey, redtail monkey, vervet monkey, yellow and olive baboons and bushbabies; and
  • Other threatened species such as elephants, eland, hartebeest, duikers and buffaloes.

This project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Nature Conservancy, Government of Tanzania, and Frankfurt Zoological Society.  The contents are the responsibility of the Jane Goodall Institute, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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