Forests in Tanzania could disappear within decades, it was learned last week from a regular source in Arusha, if not checked immediately and massive reforestation undertaken. According to the source, Tanzania presently has over 400,000 hectares of forests, but the loss of forest cover has been extensive over the past 50 years and has accelerated over the past decade.
Government officials blamed the situation on the increase in use of charcoal, which in the absence of affordable and easily-available electricity is often the only means of heating water and cooking meals, in both remote rural areas and also among the urban poor living in squalid conditions with no electricity nor piped water.
This latest report was published by globally-respected Conservation International in an attempt to draw much-needed, high-level attention to the dire situation, in order to protect biodiversity, fragile ecosystems, and alongside keeping the tourism sector up and running, which depends most heavily on an intact environment for visitors to see when they come from overseas and spend their money in Tanzania.
Tourism is a key source of foreign exchange earnings for the country and also one of the largest sectors in terms of creating employment, and Tanzania could not afford to neglect these issues if the upwards trend of tourism arrivals is to continue in the future.