Although deforestation is taking place rapidly in Tanzania, little is done to stop it. Trees are felled recklessly, with up to 500,000 hectares of forests being destroyed annually while on only 20,000 hectares are reforested.
Apocalyptic visions of ecologists are that the country’s entire forest cover will disappear in about 10 to 16 decades unless the situation is checked.
It is understood that forests provide the country with its catchments and wood fuel. One million tonnes of charcoal are produced annually, mainly for domestic use.
Officials in the ministry of Energy and Minerals have been criticised for inexplicable laxity at the expense of the nation. One wonders whether anybody cares at all about the importance of conserving our natural resources for the benefit of posterity.
In recent years, small-scale gold miners have destroyed large parts of natural forests in the Eastern Arc Mountains.
The worst affected areas are Balangai Forest Reserve and Amani Nature Reserve, the last being a Unesco-designated reserve.
A few weeks ago, gold miners invaded the Shengena natural forest in Same District and wananchi called on authorities to stop the invaders, but government officials have been prevaricating for reasons best known to them.
Such a degree of irresponsibility is perplexing.
We call on authorities in Same and elsewhere to move in urgently and stop deforestation that is spelling doom for Tanzania.