Tree Symbolism and Conservation in the South Pare Mountains, Tanzania

von Hellermann, Pauline. 2016. Tree Symbolism and Conservation in the South Pare Mountains, Tanzania. Conservation and Society, 14(4), pp. 368-379. ISSN 0972-4923 [Article]

ConservatSoc144368-2865566_075735.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This paper explores the trees that shape the Pare landscape in Tanzania, and the multiple meanings attached to them by local people. Three main groups of 'symbolic' trees are identified. First, indigenous trees that constitute hundreds of sacred groves dotted across the landscape symbolising communal identity, history, and belonging. Second, fast growing exotic species such as eucalyptus and grevillea, planted in a series of colonial and postcolonial initiatives, symbolising not only progress, modern land management and environmental improvement, but also wealth and landownership. Finally, (largely exotic) fruit trees and (largely indigenous) trees used for fertilisiling farms, signifying good homes and farms. The paper describes how these three types of tree symbolism embody different ways of relating to place and conservation practices, and discusses the insights a pluralistic understanding of such symbolism offers for conservation policy in this region.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



24 October 2016Accepted
January 2016Submitted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Jul 2017 09:51

Last Modified:

09 Mar 2021 16:16

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)