Current rates of forest degradation in Tanzania’s coastal forests are unsustainable, according to our new report launched on Tuesday.
The report, published by a coalition of organisations including WWF Tanzania and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), predicts valuable timber species will be exhausted in 30 years. The study also found carbon storage has dropped by 40% in Pwani Region. Forest loss and degradation is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions.
The report was presented to a wide audience including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Tanzanian Forest Service, and makes a series of policy recommendations including:
- Close collaboration between the Tanzanian Forestry Services, district and village authorities and greater community participation in forest management;
- The development of incentives and legal frameworks for sustainable charcoal and timber production, and continued research into sustainable alternatives;
- Cross-sectoral approaches to policy development and continued participation in international efforts to combat illegal timber trade; and
- Continued investment into educating future generations about the value of forests.
The report is the result of a project funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery to assess the extent and spread of logging in Tanzania’s coastal forests, and to empower policy makers and local communities with resources to safe-guard forests and improve livelihoods.
Led by Tanzanian and UK scientists, the project showed a progressive and significant decline in the availability of woody resources in the coastal forests since 1991. Dr Antje Ahrends, Head of Genetics and Conservation at RBGE, explained ‘logging and charcoal burning have spread like waves from Dar es Salaam, at a speed of around 10 km per year’.
‘Charcoal production is a common livelihood-supporting activity which contributes to degradation of coastal forests’ the WWF Conservation Manager, Dr Simon Lugandu commented.
The report will be available online in the coming weeks.