Tanzania: local organisation sounds alarm on poaching, deforestation

Tanzania-deforestation[1]

The Association for the Development of Protected Areas (ADAP) has raise a red flag over the increasing destruction of forest reserves in Tanzania due to human activity citing for example degradation of species at Inyonga forest in Katavi’s Mlela district.

“Illigal felling of trees compounded by increasing population has resulted in serious pressure on the natural resources. The process is becoming gradually a thorn for common species and wildlife in the reserved area,” Baraka Melakiti, ADAP Project Supervisor said in Dar es Salaam recently.

Melakati was speaking at a workshop on “Tapping the un-captured potentials of Western Tanzania Forest Reserves for Sustained livelihood and biodiversity conservation.”

He added the association has now embarked on a plan to support members of the communities surrounding the conserved areas with alternative business such as beekeeping to reduce the rate of illegal tree cutting.

He said the association which went on to undertake land use master plan, acknowledges the rate of poaching in the forest is threatening both wildlife and humans as well.

“I will encourage key players, Tanzania Forest Service (TFS), the communities and community based organisations to join hands to stop this problem before it gets out of hand,” the official told participants adding “The government on the other hand should adjust support to help conserve the forests.”

Over 62million cubic meters of forest is destroyed annually in Tanzania, according to Emanuel Minja West Zone, Zonal Manager Tanzania Forest Service (TFS) Agency.

He said while Tanzania forest annual growth is just 83.7million cubic meters, the actual target is 42.8million cubic metres. “This means over 19million cubic metres are illegally harvested, it is therefore harvested from game reserves and conservation forests,” Minja told Afrika Reporter.

Florian Reinhard, Project Manager for ADAP explained that the association has committed over US$2.5million supporting local communities to spare the forests.

He said after successful implementation of similar programme in Katavi, a roll out will be made for upcountry areas facing similar dangers.

Phillip Ndilahomba, Principal Beekeeping Officer in the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources speaking at the workshop, said the government has so far developed sufficient policy and legal framework to allow development partners collaborate with communities to conserve the forests.

He explained that forest destruction was a result of abject poverty and ignorance. He said majority think the forest were a gift from the nature and that they can do whatsoever in their capacity to satisfy their immediate economic needs.