In efforts to protect natural forests in Tanzania, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism through Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS) is working in Nature Forest Reserves across the country, offering the highest level of protection under the National Forest Act.
Twelve Nature Forest Reserves (NFRs) have benefited through project support from GEF and UNDP, committed to the safeguarding of Tanzania’s forests and the ecosystem services they provide, while also promoting development for the communities living in and around the forests.
In addition to the gazettement of the NFRs, an important contribution is the construction of well-equipped offices and ranger posts on the borders of the forests, greatly improving the rangers’ access to the forests to prevent illegal logging and mining as well as the spread of wildfires.
The communities living in and around the Nature Forest Reserves traditionally depend on the forest for services, including timber, fodder, medicinal plants and fuelwood. The forests also play an important role as water catchment for multiple use by local communities.
To ensure sustainable utilisation of these resources, UNDP promotes development opportunities for the communities, whilst reducing the pressures on the forest. Local artisans have been trained in building more fuel-efficient stoves at house hold level. The micro biogas plants have been constructed to the level of producing enough gas for cooking and lighting.
Through the UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), alternative sustainable income generating activities for communities such as butterfly farming in and around the Amani Forest Reserve have been established.
Together with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Tanga Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (Tanga- UWASA), UNDP have supported the construction of a permanent domestic water supply to Mashewa village in Muheza District near the Amani Nature Forest Reserve, decreasing time spent by women and girls on water collection and protecting the river from degradation and pollution.
UNDP is committed to continue these efforts, protecting vital natural resources in Tanzania through partnership with the Government of Tanzania and the international donor community.