Agency forms paramilitary force to guard forests

04Mar 2018
The Guardian Reporter
Guardian On Sunday
Agency forms paramilitary force to guard forests

THE Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) agency has come up with a strategy to consolidate surveillance and law-enforcement to curb invasion and illegal harvesting of forest products by forming a paramilitary unit to guard them.

A statement to that effect was issued yesterday by TFS Chief Executive Officer Prof. Dos Santos Silayo at the graduation of new recruits in the unit held at Pasiansi Wildlife Training Institute in Mwanza, who had undergone training in the Basics of Forest Surveillance and Law Enforcement.


Some of the responsibilities of TFS are to identify areas facing deforestation, investigations and monitoring of culprits before committing offences in collaboration with other institutions, he said.


He said TFS was operating in all forests in Tanzania Mainland irrespective of their ownership.


The graduation was the second after the agency renewed short-term training in 2016 where 17 staff participated, but this time round a total of 62 officers underwent the training.


Change of management style to a paramilitary system was not enough, hence TFS would continue to improve strategies on forestry surveillance across the country, including the use of drones and satellites, the CEO said.


"The use of drones is already in place to monitor some forests, starting with Rufiji Delta, in collaboration with the International Wetland Corporation and other institutions. Also China's forest department will implement a three-year plan in the use of remote sensing, Prof. Silayo further said.


According to him, those were part of efforts TFS was taking to ensure sustainable surveillance of forests was done all the time.


Speaking at the occasion, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Dr. Hamis Kigwangala urged TFS to continue working on strategies to combat new atrocities against forests and wildlife.


He said the rate of forest destruction was still high in the country and so serious measures had to be instituted to save the situation.


Pasiansi Wildlife Training Institute was established as a national resource institute by the Fauna Convention Ordinance of 1959, was replaced by the Wildlife Conservation Act No. 12 of 1974, currently known as the Wildlife Conservation Act No. 5 of 2009.


The overall objective for its establishment was to provide training for game scouts in the Game Department.