Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam this week during a sensitization seminar on the project, Sustainable Forest Based Enterprise Support in Tanzania’s Project Manager, Charles Leonard said the funding which has been made through Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, will support seven districts in the two regions.
Leonard said through Community Based Forest Management , TFCG’s experts will help provide capacity building to the districts’ forestry staffs on how to implement Forest Based Enterprises (FBEs) within their respective areas with all operating costs taken care of.
“After the training, districts’ forestry officials will be able to implement CBFM and FBEs more effectively, help communities reduce deforestation within their village land, help communities secure rights to manage and benefit from their forests resources,” he said.
The Conserving Forests through Sustainable Forest Based Enterprises Support in Tanzania (CoForEST) Project Manager, further noted that under the project, communities are expected to establish a sustainable source of revenue to finance development projects and increase government revenue.
“This is three-year project will be executed by TFCG in collaboration with Tanzanian Community Forest Conservation Network (MJUMITA) in Liwale, Ruangwa, Nachingwea, Kilolo, Kilosa, Mvomero and Morogoro Districts of Lindi and Morogoro Regions,” he revealed.
“We have decided to embark on this program after discovering that approximately 17.6 million hectares or an equivalent of about 80 percent of forest cover found within the village land are not legally protected,” Leonard added saying because of such a loophole, such forests are prone to being cleared for agricultural activities, charcoal making and firewood use,” the CoforEST Project Manager noted.
Annually, official government statistics show that more than 469,000 hectares of forest cover are cleared in the country with most them being in areas which have no legal protection. Such deforestation contributes over 44 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum hence causing global warming blamed for climate change.
Experts argue that CBFM is the best approach to incentivise communities manage their village land forests sustainably while also enhancing rural development. Such a move however is also short lived as currently most of CBFM financing comes from development partners hence not sustainable.