Tanzania is set to review the 1998 Forest Policy in an effort to curb deforestation, which cost the east African nation at least 372,000 hectares of forest reserve areas annually, a senior official said Tuesday.
The review has been necessitated by several negative trends in the forestry sector, both locally and internationally, as well as the need to develop a framework to address key challenges facing the sector.
Deputy Permanent Secretary of Tanzania’s ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Aloyce Nzuki said on Tuesday in Tanzania’s capital Dodoma that the review was necessary to help address the massive deforestation in the country.
He said increasing human activities and the demand for forestry products are among the main threats to the forest, adding that there has been an alarming massive invasion of forest areas in recent years.
The plan, according to Nzuki, is to ensure that the forest sector contribute to the national gross domestic product (GDP) in a more sustainable and effective way.
The 2015 National Forest Resources Monitoring and Assessment Report showed that the forestry resources cover 48 million hectares, about 55 percent of the Tanzania Mainland.
The sector contributes 3.5 percent to the GDP, 10 percent to the foreign earnings and 3 percent to the employment in the formal sector.
Nzuki said the sector also covers 75 percent of materials used in construction sector, adding up to 90 percent of energy sources in remote areas. “It is also an important part of the ecosystem, water and soil protection,” he said.