The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the Government of Tanzania recently came to a significant agreement regarding the sharing of information between CEPF and the Forestry and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
The agreement, signed by Conservation International (CI) on behalf of CEPF, acknowledges the importance of CEPF’s investments in local biodiversity conservation projects and recognizes how these projects contribute information and training to support the Forestry and Beekeeping Division’s management of more than 200 forest reserves in the Eastern Arc and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya region.
Additionally, both parties agree to share information and research in a collaborative effort, to both improve the quality of the data collected in projects undertaken with CEPF support, as well as to help shape governmental policy for the future of these valuable forest regions.
“This agreement is an important step toward ensuring that the results of CEPF’s investment are properly integrated into management decisions for Tanzania’s forests,” said Nike Doggart of the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, which is part of an alliance of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that lead CEPF investment in this region.
CEPF has supported more than 64 projects in Tanzania since 2004, when it first began awarding grants in the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya. Current projects include an aerial mapping study and forest change analysis that will further contribute to the Division’s ability to better maintain the nation’s forests for ecosystem services.
The environmental services generated by the Eastern Arc Mountain forests alone are estimated to be worth more than $175 million per year to Tanzania. These services include water, hydropower, and non-timber forest products, making the forests a vital resource for poverty reduction and economic growth in the country.
While they once covered more than 23,000 square kilometers, only an estimated 5,340 square kilometers of forest remain, due to clearance for agriculture and timber harvesting.
Representatives from the Forestry and Beekeeping Division and Jorgen Thomsen, CI senior vice president and CEPF executive director, participated in a special signing event on Feb. 23 in Dar es Salaam. The event also included the first showing of the English version of “Lulanda,” a documentary produced with CEPF support on participatory forest management. The Kiswahili version of the documentary aired on Tanzanian television in January.