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

often involving foreign actors. The key alliances with organized crime are made at both the central Government level and at the provincial level. Both cases require some form of corruption on the part of officials. Despite frequent government directives to stop deforestation, illegal logging has been continuing unabated. The Government has stepped up security measures in the forest reserves – for example by increasing the number of forest guards and rangers – but catching loggers proves difficult, as they are normally locals who know the territory well, and they often know where law enforcement officers operate so avoid them. Powerful organizers collude with official administrators, bribing them to allow the loggers to operate freely. Charcoal is the single most important energy source for urban households in Tanzania, which constitute 32 per cent of the population, and the country has an urbanization rate of 5.3 per cent per year. 23 However, charcoal is politically neglected because it is not categorized within sustainable development, and it contributes to deforestation. For this reason, charcoal remains part of the informal, and often illicit, economy. According to the World Bank, in 2010 this incurred a loss of revenue to the Government of at least USD 100 million per year. 24 The World Bank estimated that only about 20 per cent of taxes and fees are actually collected, however visits to the field and interviews with law enforcement professionals indicate that this is likely a very high estimate, and that the revenues are considerably less than 20 per cent. Indeed, law enforcement efforts are plagued by ill-defined charcoal policies following from the lack of a viable alternative, government disinterest in the issue, and as a consequence the power of the networks of transporter and wholesale actors who control the informal trade. Despite repeated official commitments to combating forest crime, such as the East Africa Initiative on Illegal Timber Trade and REDD+ 25 and the July 2015 Zanzibar Declaration on Illegal Trade in Timber and Other Forest Products , 26 reports still reveal that illegal loggers are destroying Tanzania’s forests. Tanzanian forest officials recently said that a surge in illegal logging was devastating native forests in coastal Tanzania’s Rufiji district, despite efforts by authorities to curb forest losses. According to officials, “Hundreds of tons of trees are being smuggled out of the district each month by timber traders to feed a lucrative construction market and furniture industries within the country and abroad”. 27

movement of natural resources, different forms of environmental crime, and maritime piracy. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) cites Dar es Salaam together with Mombasa in Kenya as the two main ports where shipments of ivory leave East Africa. Indeed, 37 per cent of seizures are made in Tanzania, making it the number one country in Africa in terms of ivory seizure. 22 Many of these activities should be referred to as organized crime,


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