Tanzania is undertaking a special program to protect nearly 160,000 hectares of mangroves forests along the country’s Indian Ocean Coastline.
This has been revealed in Arusha by the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Angela Kairuki during the 24th session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission meeting which runs in sync with the 8th African Forestry and Wildlife Week being hosted in Tanzania.
In addition to the Sustainable management of 158,000 hectares of mangroves, the Minister revealed that Tanzania is also upgrading 23 Forest Reserves to higher levels of conservation status as Nature Forest reserves.
The country is also implementing ambitious afforestation and reforestation programmes on the degraded areas of which Tanzania now boasts nearly 25 Plantation Forest Reserves.
“The initiative also involves the Management of 270 hectares of tree kernel sources for sustainable supply of tree seeds and propagating materials,” said the Minister, adding that Tanzania was practically living up to the theme of the session of the commission.
The African Forestry and Wildlife Commission runs under the theme of “Sustainable management of Africa’s Forests and Wildlife resources: boosting Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change for improved livelihoods.”
It was stated during the AFWC sessions that Tanzania is endowed with vast biodiversity, including wild animals, forests, fish stocks and marine resources.
Tanzania has set aside about 40 percent of the country’s area, equivalent to 6.5 percent of Marine and 33.5 percent of terrestrial land for biodiversity conservation, which makes the state to be categorized as a ‘mega- biodiversity’ nation.
The country is amongst the 36 world renowned biodiversity hotspots hosting more than one-third of the total plant species on the continent and about 20 percent of the large mammal population including the Big Five.
The biodiversity wealth contributes significantly to the socio-cultural, economic and ecological services including peoples` livelihood.
“As the Bureau, we have no doubt that the recommendations that we will be making this week will contribute significantly to our respective national plans for the implementation,” said the Chairperson of the 23rd Session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) Prof Dos Santos Silayo.
Professor Silayo, who is the Commissioner of Conservation for the Tanzania Forestry Services (TFS) Agency said the Arusha meeting also lays groundwork for the forthcoming session of committee on forestry next year.
“The outcome of the 24th Session will also inform the agenda for the 27th Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) and contribute to the 33rd session of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Africa to be held in April 2024 in the Royal Kingdom of Morocco,” he revealed.