Today is the first United Nations designated International Day of Forests. While TNRF and our partners celebrate and honor the importance of forests everyday - with our work and programs targeted at improving forest governance - we would like to acknowledge this day as an important international event. We spoke with our forest officers to hear what they have to say about the importance of forests:
Cassian Sianga, TNRF Senior Forestry Officer - "One of the key issues is that more that 90% of the population in our country depends heavily on forests for their livelihoods. There is every reason for professionals to assist communities get maximum benefits from these forests in a sustainable way. This should be done in a manner that will reduce the rate of degradation. The demand for forest resources is continuously increasing and dependency on them is also increasing because communities have limited alternatives.
It is high time therefore, for civil societies to empower communities in the management and utilization of these resources through Policies, Acts and Guidelines. Civil societies have a role to play here as government alone cannot do it. Let us commit ourselves to work with the rural communities as most of the civil society organizations in forestry are working in the rural areas."
Gwamaka Mwakyanjala, Mama Misitu Campaign Manager - "Empowering local communities and their institutions is key to combating illegal harvesting of forest resources in Tanzania.... Citizens should be facilitated to manage forestry resources for the current and future benefits."