ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) --
Tanzania on Tuesday announced a new
program aimed at transforming some of its key forests into being
highly protected to save the east African nation from turning
The move is aimed at
strengthening conservation of forests that are are overwhelmed
with wantonly tree felling for timber and fuel wood.
Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary in the Vice President Office (VPO)
said that under the proposed program, Morogoro-based Sokoine
University of Agriculture (SUA) has been mandated to identify
those forests that would fall under that category before
presenting its recommendations to the VPO.
described the pace at which tree felling is taking as “a very
“Our forests are
overwhelmed with wantonly tree felling. It is better we take
actions now by identifying forests that are mainly for serious
conservation,” stressed Kamuzora.
He said that the
fifth-phase government is determined to become one of the
middle-income nations by 2025 through industrialization. “And
we’ll only realize that dream if we manage well our environment,
particularly forests. So, it’s important to tame deforestation
now,” he said.
Gerald Monela, SUA
vice-chancellor said their mission is to replenish degraded
natural vegetation in Morogoro and the country at large.
He added: “This will
also give opportunities for ordinary people to take part in the
campaign by directly planting trees in their localities.”
Tanzania is home to
one of the largest tree covers in the world, but it’s at risk. A
forest inventory by the Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS) in
2015 found that forests and wooded areas cover over 48 million
hectares of land, more than the entire state of California. It
also found that wood remains the main source of fuel for
Tanzanians, even in urban areas.
Trees are felled for
firewood or turned into charcoal. With a steady population
growth rate over 3 percent, community forests designated to
supply wood for fuel are unable to support the growing demand.
That daily necessity is causing some serious problems, according
provides 92 percent of energy needs, which is causing an
unsustainable use of forest resources,” said Florian Mkeya,
manager of natural forests at the TFS, who worked on the report.
deforestation rate in Tanzania is approaching 373,000 hectares
per year, making it among the highest in East Africa.
New report highlights timber
trade challenges in eastern, southern Africa
DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) --
A new report released on Thursday
highlighted challenges facing timber trading nations in eastern
and southern Africa, in particular the need for improving trade
monitoring, financial integrity and addressing issues related to
politics and corruption.
The report, jointly authored by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade
monitoring network, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), was launched
as representatives from across the region met in the Kenyan
capital Nairobi to discuss implementation of the Zanzibar
Declaration on illegal trade in timber and other forest
The Declaration was signed in 2015 as part of an initiative
to address rampant illegal timber trade in eastern and southern
Africa under the umbrella of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) and the Eastern African Community (EAC).
Key among the recommendations from the new report are calls
for full government participation in forest-related multilateral
agreements, such as those under SADC and EAC, to address issues
undermining legal timber production.
The report urged SADC and EAC Secretariats to collaborate to
capture information from government forestry, revenue
collection, customs, and ports authorities and make the data
"Collection of appropriate and adequate data is an essential
pre-requisite for management of timber resources, and
maintaining these in an open and transparent manner is a sound
basis for ensuring timber trade is carried out legally and
sustainably," said Julie Thomson, TRAFFIC Head of Office in East
The report said the trade in natural forest timber was worth
tens of millions of dollars in the last decade and is
increasing, with domestic consumption, although poorly
monitored, estimated to be more than ten times the volumes
It said the majority of timber imports to the region comprise
coniferous sawn timber and eucalyptus electricity poles.
Most of the countries also import processed forest products,
mostly paper, plywood and fibreboard, furniture, doors, fittings
and joinery, with South Africa, Kenya, China, and India
dominating the market, said the report.
However, the report noted that despite existing policies,
laws and international protocols, most forestry departments in
the region do not have adequate capacity to routinely monitor
"This week, governments have a golden opportunity to ensure
the right measures are put in place and widely adopted to
control timber trade flows within and from the region," said
Geofrey Mwanjela, Eastern Africa Forest Coordinator for WWF.
"It’s in everyone’s best interests to ensure a fair,
equitable and sustainable timber trade becomes the norm in
eastern and southern Africa," added Mwanjela.