Tanzanian Government endorses conservation projects
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and four East African organisations today announced the launch of a portfolio of sixty-four conservation projects in the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests. These projects aim to significantly improve the conservation of Kenya and Tanzania’s rich natural resources.
During the launch, the Government of Tanzania's Forestry and Beekeeping Division signed an important Memorandum of Understanding with Conservation International, which administers CEPF. The Forestry and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Government of Tanzania are the owners of over 200 forest reserves in the Eastern Arc and Coastal forests of Tanzania. The agreement outlines how CEPF's investment can contribute information and training to support the Forestry and Beekeeping Division's management of these reserves.
"This agreement is an important step towards ensuring that the results of CEPF's investment are properly integrated into management decisions for Tanzania's forests," stated Nike Doggart from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group.
"Since 2003, CEPF has received over 300 applications from civil society organisations to support projects aiming to improve the conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity and natural resources. Today we are pleased to announce that 64 projects are now under way or have been completed with finance from CEPF. These projects are helping to conserve over 46 priority sites which are home to 311 threatened species and implemented through partnerships involving over 100 institutions," announced John Watkin, the Grant Director for CEPF.
Within Kenya and Tanzania, CEPF’s investment has been guided by a Coordination Unit, which includes the BirdLife International Secretariat in Nairobi, working with its two National Partners, Nature Kenya and the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania.
The investment is focused on the Eastern Arc Mountains and the Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya. This region has at least 1,500 species of plants and 50 species of reptiles found in these forests and nowhere else on Earth, as well as a number of globally threatened birds. The forests once covered over 23,000 km2. However, only an estimated 5,340 km2 remain. Clearance for agriculture, bush fires, charcoal production and timber harvesting are the main threats to these forests.
In Tanzania, the environmental services generated by the Eastern Arc Mountain forests alone are estimated to be worth over US$ 175 million per year to the nation. As such they are a vital resource for poverty reduction and economic growth.