Surveying degradation

Tanzania is home to almost 500,000 km2 of forests and woodlands, covering over 50% of the country. As elsewhere in the tropics, charcoal burning and timber harvesting for national and international markets place huge demands on the forests.

To assess the extent and impact of selective logging and charcoal burning, we are undertaking surveys in 10 Tanzanian coastal forests. The surveys will also allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of current forest management.

The survey data will be augmented with data from surveys we conducted in 2005 and in the 1990s, to produce two decades’ worth of data on tree species diversity and timber and carbon stocks in the Tanzanian coastal forests. The surveys involve counting and measuring both living and cut trees along transects to assess the level of timber extraction. We are also recording tree species, and the amount of standing carbon.

All data will be compiled in a central database to be provided to national policy makers and other stakeholders to inform policy development and forest management.

Botanists survey trees such as Pterocarpus angolensis