Tanzania like many other countries across the globe realizes the effects of environmental degradation. The effects of environmental degradation are well documented. Thanks to many efforts at regional and local levels, Tanzania established the environmental management Act, 2004(EMA) to regulate matters affecting the environment.
The authority is a step in the right direction but complementary efforts are very critical to avoid disasters occasioned by missteps in environmental utilization. Firstly, when it comes to forest cover it is hardly enough to campaign for planting of trees and conservation of the same. Trees like any earthly living things will grow, wither or die with time. At the same time demand for wood products will soar with global population growth.
Cheaper sources of energy are not globally easily accessible. Moreover demand for other wood products like paper, furniture and construction material remain high. Use of technology like internet platforms though set to ease paper usage will not do away with need for paper as some transaction and communications will still need paper till technology is proficient and rigorous protected in adequate measures.
In a nutshell, wood products and consumption of trees will still continue to play a critical play role in people’s lives.This means more consumption of trees and forest depletion. None-theless scary as it is within human ability to manage this properly. What we require is better forest and tree management.
The rate of consumption of wood and thus trees should be surpassed by a good factory by the rate of planting more trees and taking care of many more trees. In essence the critical issue is to ensure aggressive campaigns and actions of planting more trees continuously and ensuring adequate tress cover at all times. This means strict regime of tree planting which should be part of government policy.
Restrictions on forest harvest alone are not adequate to stem degradation of our forest cover. It will only create black markets and illegal activities in forest as has been going on in Tanzania for the last decades.Communities need to know about the alternatives such as clean energy sources eg. Solar, Wind power, hydro power etc. and sustainable income generating activities to complement total dependency on forest resources for livelihood improvement.
Written by: Bright Sospeter YET-2011