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


inspecting vehicles for smuggled timber when they are in fact helping them to traffic the product.

In Rufiji, loggers enter the forests at night to target indigenous tree species, notably mninga and mpodo, which are now on the verge of local extinction due to high demand. District forest revenue records show that more than 70 per cent of the total volume of wood being harvested in the forest is unaccounted for, resulting in enormous losses of government revenue from levies, taxes and fees. 28 Local residents claim that some district forest officials are colluding with illegal loggers by sometimes secretly doling out permits or offering safe passage of illegal consignments of timber. Logs are ferried along unofficial routes assisted by a network of local police officers, who often pretend to be

Another problem is that the fines for those caught with illegally cut wood products are very low, and once they have paid the fines, the perpetrators are allowed to keep the products. These fines can simply be factored in as the cost of doing business. In some regions, charcoal and other wood products cannot be taken out of the region, whether legally or illegally processed, and the products will be confiscated if discovered. The problem is that the authorities will auction the products, and when purchased there, they can then be exported legitimately.

Illegal logging bottlenecks

Wood is transported by river


Wood is illegally logged and collected


Mills and processing facilities far from the logging area pay more in transportation costs

Wood is transported to mills with trucks

Border crossing



Timber aggregation point

Border crossing point Harbour for international shipping Source: Personal communication with Christian Nellemann. Mill or other wood processing facility


Figure 5. Illegal logging bottlenecks


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