THE government through Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) moved in to save the national game reserves from degradation by removing at least 88,930 cattle from the country’s 135 national game reserves.
Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Japhet Hasunga also told parliament that the removal of the herders and their livestock will be followed by an intensive tree planting exercise.
He was responding to a question from Kaliua Member of Parliament, Magdalena Sakaya (CUF) who wanted to know the measures that the government was taking to protect natural forests and national game reserves across the country.
Hasunga said the relocation of invaders was implemented by TFS in collaboration with the district and regional safety and security committees.
“We have been using our forest officers to encourage citizens to establish gardens and environment clubs where over 20 million trees have been planted at different places. They have also managed to formulate district and village by-laws that are geared towards protecting forests at their specific localities,” he said.
He noted that forest officers across the country had properly supervised the exercise to restore natural vegetations in over 125 forests in various districts. He said the officials have re-surveyed 13,100 kilometres of the game reserves, fixed 14,200 beacons and identified boundaries. He said a total of 4,553 sign boards had been placed at different places indicating the areas as protected or national game reserves.
“We have been educating the villagers on the negative impacts of cutting trees, shifting cultivation, charcoal burning, mining and cattle rearing within game reserves. All these are done by TFS officials available in seven zones and 135 districts across the country,” Hasunga informed.
The Deputy Minister noted that TFS was responsible for the supervision of national game reserves measuring 15.48 million hectares which accounts for 35 percent of all the forest areas in Tanzania. The area includes traditional forests and forest plantations.
He said the Prime Minister's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government supervise 1,200 forests (21.6 million hectares).
TFS was formed out of the Forest and Beekeeping Division (FBD) within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. It has the responsibilities of managing national forest reserves (natural and plantations), bee reserves and forest and bee resources on general lands.
It also scales up management activities related to mapping and demarcating forest reserves and improving protection capacity of local forest managers; increasing production capacity of plantations, which addresses national wood fuel energy needs and improve capacity to record and capture the value of the forest and beekeeping sector to the GDP.