Community-managed protected area (PA) designation has been adopted as a conservation tool to prevent anthropogenic habitat destruction, fragmentation and biodiversity loss. However, PA designation in certain areas may simply result in displacement of resource extraction to areas outside of the PA, a phenomenon known as leakage. Islands offer a fixed, identifiable area for potential leakage to occur, which can then be considered when assessing the efficacy of PAs. Pemba Island, Tanzania, has experienced a 95% forest loss in the last 200 years owing to the increase in human extraction of trees for land use change, fuelwood, medicine, and the creation of salt ponds. To try to slow the rate of deforestation, a number of PAs called multi-use Community Forest Managed Areas (CoFMAs) were created in 2012. Forest cover change for CoFMA areas was calculated for the period before CoFMA designation (2002-2012) and after (2013-2016) via remote sensing supervised classification.
Results indicate a decline in forest loss before CoFMA designation compared to after CoFMA designation in a quarter of the CoFMAs. Survey data on tree theft show 60% of CoFMAs that have lowered deforestation rates since 2012 are not conducting leakage, however are a product of leakage themselves, while the other 40% are partaking in and experiencing leakage. For CoFMAs that have increased deforestation rate since 2012 the reverse was true, 30% of CoFMAs are not conducting leakage while 70% are experiencing and conducting leakage. The results of this study highlights partial success in CoFMA designation decreasing deforestation rates, that leakage is commonplace, and practicing leakage does not necessarily lead to a decreased rate of deforestation. Recommendations are made to utilize remote sensing to identify priority areas for replanting programs.