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


13 per cent of charcoal production came from protected government forests, 61 and an earlier investigation found 40 per cent of charcoal from rangeland, 40 per cent from farmlands and 20 per cent from government forests. 62 In Malawi, 60 per cent of charcoal is produced in protected areas. 63 In 2010 Tanzania had a forest cover of 33.4 million ha, and an annual forest loss of approximately 1.1–1.5 per cent (300– 500,000 ha). 64 Between 30 and 60 per cent of this forest loss can plausibly be attributed to charcoal consumption. 65 If the projections in table 1 are correct, however, annual forest loss will grow to at least 2.5 per cent of the 2050 projected tree cover. In other words, the growth in charcoal consumption based on population growth and urbanization will dramatically increase deforestation. However, whereas it is possible to calculate consumption with at least some degree of precision, forest recovery is more complicated. Biomass can return in as little as 15 years in ideal conditions, but this requires systematic and large-scale reforestation.

Charcoal can be made from any species of wood, but it is the Acacia and Combretum species that produce the highest quality charcoal. Availability varies according to region, so for example in coastal areas mango trees are typically used for production. 57 The largest areas of intact forest that are still suitable for charcoal production of some scale are found in the southeast, in the Mtwara area, which is an area plagued by high volumes of illegal logging. Charcoal is generally unsustainably harvested from dry (or Miombo) woodlands within a catchment area that extends up to 200 km from urban energy markets. 58 At least 50 per cent of forests are in protected reserves, although their protection is in reality for the most part theoretical, as illegal harvesting is rampant. 59 The majority of charcoal comes from natural forests, often on village land, and significant amounts come from protected areas. Plantations and trees harvested under licence outside forests contribute only marginally in quantitative terms. 60 The Kenyan charcoal survey cited above found that

Illegal charcoal production site in Biharamulo Game Reserve, November 2015


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