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Norway and Finland dish out USD5m to curb illegal logging

The governments of Norway and Finland have dished out USD5m which would be used in the campaign to improve transparency and accountability and reduce illegal logging in the forestry sector.

Speaking at the launch of the five years campaign dubbed ‘Mama Misitu’, the Finish Ambassador to Tanzania, Sinikka Antila, said the campaign is expected to result in tangible changes in behaviour, increased transparency by government and private sector officials.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce the illegal harvesting of timber in Tanzania and thus the rate of deforestation,” she said.

According to a report by the Controller and Auditor General, only 4 percent of the forest reserves have management plans, the remaining 96 percent are not managed in accordance with the national legislation.

“Forest and land are important resources for lives and livelihoods of Tanzanians. In order to manage them well there is a need to work together with the public, private and non governmental actors to strengthen the resources,” she said.
She said Finland and Norway are Tanzania’s long term partners in the management of natural resources, especially the forestry sector.

“There are many good results of the previous cooperation with the Tanzanian government, local non governmental organisations and private sector, and the campaign is a continuation of the work done previous,” she insisted.

She noted that forests are recognized  for their importance in addressing climate change and Tanzania’s successes is part of the international efforts to reward countries that reduce emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
The campaign will also contribute towards Tanzania’s efforts to prepare for REDD, she added.

For her part, Coast Regional Commissioner Mwantumu Mahiza, who was the chief guest thanked the donors for the funds which would be used in four districts in the first phase.

She urged the implementing partners of ‘Mama Misitu’ to involve women and youth in safeguarding forests resources.
“These are the key stakeholders, please engage them in participatory forestry management in order to reduce the acts of illegal logging,” she noted.

She also urged forests stakeholder to create the culture of planting trees in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Everybody is aware of the effects of climate change such as lack of rainfall. We have to make sure that more trees are planted in open areas countrywide,” she added.
Giving community testimony on forests, Omar Kijumile, a farmer from Kilwa District in Lindi Region, said the initial phase of ‘Mama Misitu’ has proved successful.

He said there was an increase in community collaboration and awareness of the importance of trees, forests and the laws and policies that guide environmental management.

According to Tanzania Natural Resources Forum, ‘Mama Misitu’ campaign manager Gwamaka Mwakyanjala, the campaign will be conducted in areas where acts of illegal logging are on increase.

He noted that the campaign will be implemented in collaboration district and national partners.

Source: The Guardian

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Deforestation Fuels Temperature Hikes Around Mt. Kilimanjaro

A logging boom has hit Tanzania’s tourist-drawing Kilimanjaro region, reducing the region’s native forests, hitting rainfall and leading to unusually high temperatures.

The increasingly extreme weather has come as a surprise to people who live a stone’s throw from one of the world’s heritage sites, and who had been used to a cold, misty climate.

Joshua Meena, 72, a resident of Machame, told AlertNet that the annual rainfall in the region has been dwindling from year to year over the past decade, affecting farmers who depend on growing coffee and bananas for a living.

“Our livelihood is affected because these crops thrive under a cool climate and also need enough water,” he said.

And in Moshi municipality, eyebrows are raised at the region’s rising temperatures, which now sometimes surpass 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Farenheit) – on occasion higher than the country’s normal hottest places, Dar es Salaam and Tanga.

“I have not seen a situation like this before, the heat is just too much. We virtually do not need sweaters and jackets,” said Onesmo Masawe, a resident of Moshi.

TIMBER AND CHARCOAL

Forests play an in important role in maintaining natural water cycles around Mt. Kilimanjaro, but the region’s forests are disappearing as a result of growing demand for timber across and country and unmanaged logging of trees for timber and charcoal making, residents in the region say.

The government has accused unscrupulous timber dealers, who collude with corrupt officials, for driving the destruction. But forests also have come under pressure as people in the area struggle to meet their energy needs by making charcoal.

Particularly hard hit are the region’s “Erica” trees, which thrive above 2,700 meters (8,850 feet) above sea level and that local people believe are crucial to helping collect cloud moisture. The trees, now on the verge of extinction, according to people in the village of Machame, also provide traditional medicine used to treat fever and diarrhoea.

Growing rainfall shortages in Machame have led some farmers to set up irrigation systems for their fields, while others have moved to cities to find other work.

In Marangu district, a visiting AlertNet reporter could hardly find people working in the fields during the day. Many Marangu residents have moved to Arusha and Dar es Salaam because their farms are not coping well with the drier conditions. They only convene back in the villages during Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Jerome Temba, a resident of Marangu, said because of increasing temperatures some tour guides no longer see the need to help tourists acclimate to colder weather before they trek into high altitudes around Mt. Kilimanjaro.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), reduced rainfall and increasing temperatures in Kilimanjaro have increased the vulnerability to fire and cutting of the region’s forests.

Statistics obtained from UNEP website estimate that between 1976 and 2012, over 15,445 hectares (38,000 acres) of rainforests in the region have been destroyed.

The regional government is taking measures to combat illegal logging and to sensitize local people about the importance of conserving their environment, said Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Leonidas Gama.

“There is no doubt whatsoever inadequate rainfall and higher temperatures in the region is the impact of climate change which is contributed to by our own actions,” he said in a telephone interview.

Gama said the government was embarking on a reforestation drive which aims to plant one million trees in two years in collaboration with governmental and private institutions.

SHRINKING RESERVOIRS

A watchdog NGO made up of journalists from the Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET), conducted an assessment in Kilimanjaro in April, which found that water reservoirs in the region also are being hit by the changing conditions.

Local authorities interviewed by JET estimated that that Lake Jipe has receded by 100 meters in just three years while Nyumba ya mungu Dam has lost almost two-thirds of its water, affecting hydro-electricity production.

A Tanzanian member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Pius Yanda, concurs that the rise in temperature in Kilimanjaro region is a result of global warming.

“In recent years there has been severe deforestation in Kilimanjaro region and that has left many parts devoid of natural vegetation and soil cover. Global warming is a worldwide phenomenon and in Kilimanjaro region local factors have contributed in rising temperatures,” Yanda was quoted in local media as saying.

Yanda observed that deforestation has not been addressed effectively and said he believes temperatures are set to rise even higher if the problem of deforestation is not solved soon.

Kizito Makoye is a journalist based in Dar es Salaam.

Source: allAfrica