Tanzania: Search for Breakthrough in Conservation

by Dec 17, 2011Wildlife News

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has reported that Governments have agreed on a package of measures to sustain current global efforts to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and to conclude a new agreement with legal force that would involve all countries to prevent the threat of dangerous global climate change. IUCN is optimistic that the agreement is a major breakthrough against negative effects of climate change. The Conference was held in Durban, South Africa recently.

In addition, IUCN has reported that governments have agreed to establish a Green Climate Fund that is supported by initial financial pledges. The pledges offer hopes that sufficient finance will flow to deal with negative impacts caused by climate change.

Meanwhile, IUCN encourages governments to continue building on what already works: the power of intact natural ecosystems. “Ecosystem-based approaches to respond to climate change are cost effective solutions that governments ought to incorporate proactively into national policies.” In particular, IUCN urges governments to “Improve the management of river systems, coastal ecosystems, coral reefs, mangroves, forests, and dry land systems in order to conserve carbon and improve the ability of communities to deal with both the sudden and long-term effects of climate change.”

But conservation of ecosystems in Tanzania is easier said than done. Scientists at the just ended Scientific Conference on Wildlife Conservation have indicated that enormous challenges are associated with conservation of ecosystems in the country. The Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) in Arusha organized the Conference.

Scientists at the Conference revealed that conflicts on use of natural resources are among the major challenges to conservation in Tanzania. The conflicts are associated with boundaries, trespassing, and land use issues. Other conflicts are in the form of human versus wildlife, institutional and cultural differences.

Human population increase, climate change, resource scarcity, poaching, poverty, changes in land use, extension of protected wildlife area boundaries, mistrust between authorities and members of community are among the causes of conflicts that are associated with conservation in Tanzania. Scientists have mentioned other causes of conflicts. They include fragmented legislation, lack of political will, top-down management of resources and lack of community participation in decision making. Of major concern is the fact that, authorities as well as society do not give women opportunities to own or benefit from natural resources adequately.

The list of causes of challenges to conservation in Tanzania is long. People with various professional, cultural or spiritual backgrounds can contribute efforts to address the challenges to conservation in the country. Time is of essence.

On their part, wildlife scientists at the Conference in Arusha have proposed pro-conservation ideas that can be developed to address challenges to conservation in the country. For example, scientists suggest efforts to re-design the villages that surround protected areas like national parks in order to address effects of population pressure on conservation.

Meanwhile, participants at the Conference supported a proposal to establish land and resource use plans for communities that surround protected areas as a means to reduce human pressure on the areas. Conference participants noted that Tanzania National Parks implements an incentive programme to share benefits with members of communities that surround national parks to enhance conservation.

In addition, the Wildlife Division enhances conservation by enabling members of communities to benefit from wildlife through establishment of a programme known as Wildlife Management Areas. The search for a breakthrough to conserve ecosystems in Tanzania continues.