Deforestation Threatens Tanzania’s Future

Mellowswan Proposes National Reforestation Project For Tanzania

Deforestation is a widespread problem around the world and across Eastern Africa. Rising demand for charcoal results in a loss of some 575,000 hectares annually for fuel wood just in Tanzania. Fires, illegal harvesting and clearing for short-term millet production still contribute to deforestation, which threatens our watersheds, communities and wildlife.

reforest Tanzania fight climate change

To combat this problem, the Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania will start three large greenhouses (higher elevation) and nurseries. Land has already been donated to the project in Rombo district by the Rongai forest plantation authority. Rombo District Council has offered another nursery site. Both nursery sites are on the borders of Kilimanjaro National Park. Mountain climbers who take the Kinapa route will walk by one of the nurseries. The Moshi Municipal Council offered a third nursery plot for urban reforestation. Unlike past reforestation efforts in the region, we will focus on local needs and long-term sustainability of the new trees.

Despite clear evidence that most villagers know what species they want, most foresters in the past ignored those preferences. For example, the Masai are a unique pastoral group. They keep large numbers of livestock in a harsh environment to meet family subsistence needs. As they have explained, they need tree species that are suitable for their herds.

reforest Tanzania

Reforesting Tanzania can help us all fight climate change, while defending critical ecosystems.

Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania plans to expand across all of Tanzania. This economic development program has been approved by The United Republic of Tanzania. The reforestation plan includes an area of426,889,704 hectares across all six regions and 55 districts.

The government will commit more acreage for conservation of existing forests. We will work with government leaders and Village Natural Resources Committees (VNRC) about their responsibilities in all districts and regions. We will train them on the latest provisions and policies of the Forest Act, Environmental Act, Land Act, Wildlife Act and Water Act. We also will collect and distribute best practices from the VNRCs and other local and district leaders to share the knowledge for maximum impact.

The project also will include aquaculture, beekeeping, agroforestry, ecotourism, conferences, training, awards and community education. It also will promote strategies to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, including safekeeping livestock from predators and safeguarding crops from elephants. We also will develop several community centers that can be used for trainings, community events and tourism support.

In almost each district, we will plant timber trees, indigenous trees, trees to attract rainfall, trees that conserve groundwater tables, fruits, and commercial fruits such as clove, cocoa, palm, baobab, mango, guavas, avocados, etc. to benefit habitat, biodiversity and communities. We also will have an urban forestry program. In urban environments, street kids can harvest fruit for income and survival.

Tumaini Mosha

Tumaini Mosha, right, inspects one of the proposed tree nursery locations.

The District Directors and Forest officers in Tanzania are very happy with this overall project and have offered to help in multiple ways. Such an economic stimulus can help take some of the pressures off of wildlife, especially endangered species such as the African elephant, rhinoceros, lions and others. Presently, wildlife traffickers can hire locals to poach elephants for just a few dollars. The tusks and horns are then smuggled to China, Vietnam, Thailand and other nations where they are worth billions on the black market. It will take several strategies to shut down this deadly supply and demand, but sustainable economic development in Africa can help address the problem, while providing a platform for more productive community engagement.

Our goal is to provide education and help indigenous people understand the importance of forests and all wildlife. The objective is to provide information about the ecosystem and how environmental factors are influenced by negative human activities, including deforestation and wildlife poaching.

For more information, visit http://sacredseedlings.com/east-africa-projects/

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