National Forest Policy (Tanzania)

Policy

Summary

The aim of the policy is to enhance the contribution of the forest sector to the sustainable development of Tanzania and the conservation and management of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations. This goal is to be realized through effective management of forest area, conservation of forest biodiversity, water catchments and soil fertility, and enhancing national capacity to manage and develop the forest sector in collaboration with other stakeholders. The policy provides the foundation, together with the Forest Act (2002) for Participatory Forest Management (PFM) and encourages community and private sector involvement in forest management through village land forest reserves, individual, group and community forests. The purpose of this decentralised structure of forest management was to improve governance and reduce illegal use of forest reserves and resources. The policy does not explicitly mention climate change issues and it has been revised to take into consideration significant changes and climate change issues which have occurred since it was enacted in 1998. The revision is waiting for government approval. Some of the challenges identified in the policy in achieving a sustainable forest management regime include the management of wild fires that occur annually, unclear boundaries, lack of including economic and environmental values of forests in product pricing and royalties, and uncontrolled settlement in forest plantations. The policy adopts a participatory approach to forest management by involving all stakeholders (including local and indigenous peoples) in management systems, demarcation of forest reserves, devising mechanisms to ensure equitable sharing of benefits and leasing out forest reserves to private investors.