Deforestation Threatens Tanzania’s Watersheds, Ecosystems

Effective Reforestation, Forest Conservation Vital To Survive Climate Change

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Tanzania should direct more effort toward forest conservation and reforestation to mitigate climate change effects. Environment specialists have warned that efforts were seen in planting trees but without proper follow-up to ensure long-term survival.

Dr. Jumanne Abdallah, a don with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), said at a training on environmental conservation here that many of the trees planted yearly died for lack of care. The training brought together different stakeholders from all wards in the district and was meant to build their capacity in reversing the effects of climate change.

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Siha district borders Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Shira Route to the mountain’s summit is found in the district. Dr. Abdallah, who is also under a Climate Change Mitigation Program, said there was still a bad trend of cutting trees arbitrarily, saying the acts contributed to between 17 and 20 percent of environmental degradation in developing countries, Tanzania included.

“Environmental degradation can be witnessed in activities related to harvesting of trees for energy purposes as well as timber for sale,” Abdallah said. “But besides these, there is the problem of planting trees and leaving them to die for lack of care.”

The district head of the Land, Natural Resources and Environment department, Mr. Jonas Moses, said that the district planned to plant 1.5 million trees during long rainy season.

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“We target to plant 1.5 million trees this year, but for now we have only 800,000 seedlings, so we go by what we have,” said Moses.

He called on other stakeholders to join hands in the exercise so that the district maintains its ecology by ensuring that they take care of the planted trees.

Each year authorities in different districts in Kilimanjaro region see to it that trees are planted during the long rainy season. Recently, the Tanzania Environmental Action Association (TEACA) said that it planned to plant 50,000 trees in villages surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro this year.

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