Forest Conservation

Tanzania has 48.1 million hectares of forests, nearly half of which occur on land that is managed by rural communities.

  • Tanzania's forests are ecologically significant. They play a vital role in mitigating climate change, due to the estimated 9.03 trillion tonnes of carbon they store and sequester.
  • Forests in Tanzania provide many other ecosystem services. The role of forests in stabilizing soils and protecting water catchments is particularly important in southern Tanzania, where infrastructure and social development lag behind other parts of the country and so more than half of the rural poor depend on subsistence agriculture to support their livelihoods.
  • They are also important preserves for biodiversity. They harbour Africa's largest number of mammals (364 species), second largest number of plants (10,000 species), third largest number of birds (1,035 species) and fourth largest number of reptiles and amphibians (368 species), between 9% and 11% of which occur nowhere else in the world. The coastal forests of south-eastern Tanzania are particularly diverse, hosting some of the highest densities of endemic species globally.

Despite the local and global importance of Tanzania's forests, these are being lost at the fifth-fastest rate in the world.

By empowering rural Tanzanians to unlock the value in their natural forests through sustainable timber harvesting, we are providing them with tangible incentives to protect these important habitats - for their own benefit, for future generations and for the world. By 2017, we had enabled 40 rural communities in southern Tanzania to own and sustainably manage over 410,000 hectares of natural forests by setting up locally-controlled forest reserves on their land.

These forests are comprised of a patchwork of miombo woodlands interspersed with some of the last remaining pockets of East African coastal forests, a rapidly disappearing biodiversity hotspot of global importance. Our work is therefore making a significant contribution towards the conservation of these irreplaceable wildlife habitats.

This work was formally commended in 2016 when our CEO won two prestigious international awards: the Whitley Fund for Nature Award for International Nature Conservation and the National Geographic Society Buffett Award for Leadership in African Conservation. 

Useful Links

Coastal forests links

East African Forest Conservation links

International Forest Conservation links

Other links

Some Non-Internet Sources

Here are a few additional sources which we have found useful but which unfortunately are not available over the internet.

  • Beale, D. (1995) Tree! What tree? An ecological economic approach to producing a sustainable mpingo trade (Dalbergia melanoxylon). A dissertation presented for the degree of Master of Science. University of Edinburgh.
  • Burgess, N.D. & Clarke, G.P. (editors) (2000) Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
  • Chidumayo, E.N. (1997) Miombo Ecology and Management. Stockholm Environment Institute.
  • FBD (2001) Community-Based Forest Management Guidelines. Forestry and Beekeeping Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania.
  • FFI (1996) The proceedings of the Maputo Workshop; Towards Sustainable Exploitation of Dalbergia melanoxylon, 6-9th November 1995. Fauna & Flora International, UK.
  • FFI (2001) Sustainable Production of African Blackwood - Dalbergia melanoxylon. Report of the Technical Workshop held in Dar Es Salaam, 8-10th October 2001. Fauna & Flora International, UK.
  • FFI (2002) Sustainable Production of African Blackwood - Dalbergia melanoxylon. Report of the Technical Workshop held in Pemba, 25th-26th February 2002. Fauna & Flora International, UK.
  • Lovett, J. (1987) Tree of the month: Dalbergia melanoxylon. Swara 10(2) : 27-28.
  • Lovett, J. (1988) Mpingo - the African blackwood. Miombo 2 : 3.
  • Milledge, S.A.H. & Kaale, B.K. (2004) Bridging the Gap: Linking Timber Trade with Infrastructure Development and Poverty Eradication Efforts in Southern Tanzania. TRAFFIC East/Southern Africa, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  • Moore, K. & Hall, J.E. (1987) Report of a mission to assess the management and conservation of Dalbergia melanoxylon, or the mpingo, in Tanzania. Unpublished report to United Nations Education Programme, Nairobi.
  • Platt, I. & Evison, S. (1994) In-country investigation into the state of knowledge about the conservation and cultivation status of mpingo (Dalbergia melanoxylon) in Tanzania with notes about Mozambique. Unpublished report to Fauna & Flora International, UK.
  • Sharman, H. (1995) Investigation into the sustainable management of a tropical timber tree species, using Dalbergia melanoxylon as a case study. A dissertation presented for the degree of Master of Science. University of Edinburgh.