The government is looking into alternative sources of income for rural people who depend on forests as it mounts its campaign to stem deforestation. Institute of Resources Assessment (IRA) director at the University of Dar es Salaam Prof Pius Yanda said this on Wednesday when briefing journalists on the recently launched national framework for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which aims at controlling deforestation. “As we plan to end deforestation we have to find another alternative for people in rural areas because they depend much on cutting down trees for wood, charcoal and other income-generating activities,” he said. He said Tanzania had about 33.5milion hectares of forests, with deforestation estimated at a rate of 91.2 million hectares per annum globally. He said deforestation in the country was estimated at 412,000 hectares per annum, taking place mostly in general land forests. Yanda said, according to a forest condition assessment carried out recently, human disturbances in forest reserves including illegal mining, pit sawing, illegal harvesting for building materials and herbal medicines, were seen as major contributors in deforestation. “It is not only forests in general land that are diminishing but also the condition of reserved forests is deteriorating,” he said. He said the government would come up with a new national forest policy with a view to creating awareness on afforestation. “People need awareness as the majority of them seem not to understand the impact of deforestation,” he noted. Yanda said regular reporting on various levels concerning carbon reduction projects should be reported to the national REDD scheme for funding because the government would then market the carbon to the international community. He added that the Norwegian government had provided USD 100milion for the frame work and its activities. He said the partnership focused on developing pilot programmes to reduce deforestation and carbon developing methodologies. Launching REDD early this week, State Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Environment) Dr Batilda Burian said there was need for the government to reduce within a few years the gravity and severity of the climate change threat. Burian said global efforts and services that were currently in place needed to be recognized to ensure that the public benefited from various mechanisms.
Poverty is the step-mother of genius.