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



Invest in alternative livelihoods around protected areas. The main reason why local people conduct illegal logging in protected areas is lack of alternatives. A great many rural Tanzanians are very poor and have few alternative cash crops. In 2013, 68 per cent of the population lived on less than USD 1.25 per day, and 94 per cent of the rural population work in the informal economy, on a part-time and part-year basis. 88 1 Strengthen programmes dealing with irrigation and livestock. As the soil is often very dry and infertile, livestock farmers are forced to drive their animals into protected areas in order to keep the animals alive in the dry season. The animals destroy the vegetation and this activity makes it easier for illegal loggers to enter the protected areas unseen. Assess illegal logging in relation to the current refugee flow from Burundi. Due to political unrest in Burundi, an estimated 130,000 refugees have entered Tanzania since early April 2015 putting pressure on Tanzania’s economy, particularly in the border regions, which also has direct spillover effects in the protected areas. The refugees are even worse off than the Tanzania residents, and many of them are forced to conduct illegal activities to survive and feed their families. In addition, many refugees have experience from armed conflicts, and have easier access to weapons than Tanzanian residents. A huge number of illegal weapons (often automatic rifles such as AK- 47) in Tanzania are smuggled from Burundi, and often favoured by poachers and illegal loggers. 2 3

Tanzania should reform its illegal logging legislation and invest in stronger enforcement capability. Offenders of illegal cutting, transporting and selling of protected wood run little risk of being caught and prosecuted. A bag of charcoal typically costs TSH 4,000–6,000 in the production area, and TSH 20,000–40,000 in towns/cities. When stopped by police during transport, the fine is normally only TSH 9,800– TSH 14,600 per sack, and the person transporting the sacks is allowed to keep the goods, which in any case means a significant net profit. and officers doing their best to fight illegal logging, but support from state authorities is mostly insufficient. Challenges facing the managers of the different units include lack of vehicles, means of communication, forest inventory/ assessment equipment, and simple camp facilities such as tents. In addition, rangers often lack knowledge in operational planning, information management and basic bush patrol skills. Such knowledge can be provided relatively inexpensively and training and basic equipment would vastly increase their effectiveness. Such efforts are much more efficient and necessary than fashionable suggestions such as drones and other high-technology/high-expense programmes. 5 Boost programmes on supporting forest reserve administrations. There are a lot of dedicated managers


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