Combating Poaching and Illegal Logging in Tanzania: Voices of the Rangers-Hands-on Experiences from the Field


As in much of sub-Saharan Africa, charcoal is the predominant source of household energy in urban areas of Tanzania. It is favoured for its convenient format and reasonable price. Africa as a whole officially produced 32.4 million tons of charcoal in 2014, with an estimated value of USD 9.7–26.2 billion. Tanzania officially produced 1.8 million tons in the same year, but this is likely a very large underestimate of the total production. The official production numbers take no account of import and export, for example, and the unofficial production numbers are by some estimates 2.5 times higher than the official ones. Tanzania has a rapidly growing population and increasing urbanization. Dar es Salaam, which accounts for about half of the country’s charcoal consumption, is set to reach 10 million inhabitants by 2030, which is double its present population. The country’s population is estimated to reach 79 million by 2030 and 129 million by 2050. This has dramatic consequences for charcoal demand. The minimum projected wood requirements for charcoal alone in 2050 surpasses total industrial wood production (which includes all wood products, including firewood) in 2014. Today about 40–60 per cent of deforestation in Tanzania can be attributed to charcoal production, with an annual deforestation rate of 1.1–1.5 per cent, which will rise to 2.5 per cent in 2050. About 80 per cent of charcoal production is illegal, since producers and transporters have not sought the required permits. Tanzania’s Government is losing at least USD 100 million in revenue per year from the informal charcoal economy. Production is largely artisanal, as an in-depth investigation showed in Kenya, where the average producer made about 30 sacks of charcoal per month, and where there were more than 250,000 separate producers in 2005. This example showed a level of unofficial production 4–8 times higher than the official numbers reported to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) indicate. There are several challenges associated with the illegal production of and trade in charcoal. An illicit economy breeds corruption at all stages. Attempts at reducing this through outright bans on production have proven unsuccessful, leading to corrupt law enforcement personnel being used to protect shipments, while production increases in protected areas; since it is illegal everywhere, there is no particular reason to

avoid protected areas. A 2013 investigation saw a fully licensed and legal charcoal transport travelling 150 km being stopped 16 times, and having to pay a total of USD 230 in illegal bribes


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