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United Republic of Tanzania - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


As of 2003 the numbers and distribution of species found in Tanzania is: 10,008 plant species, 316 mammals, 229 breeding birds, 335 reptiles, 116 amphibians and 331 fish species. The status and trends of some components of biological diversity in the country include: the Indian Ocean Dugong (Dugong dugon) at the brink of extinction; the number of elephants has increased from 88,000 in 2000 to 120,000 in 2004; number of wildlife researchers has increased from 40 to about 105 by 2004; and there are 79 indigenous horticultural plant species (including 48 introduced fruit trees, 37 introduced vegetable crops and 40 indigenous vegetable crops). Some of the factors affecting biodiversity and its conservation include: poverty, inadequate information on genetic resources, inadequate awareness of communities on biodiversity conservation, unsustainable mining activities by small scale miners, influx of refugees, introduction of alien species {e.g. Nile perch (Lates niloticus), water hyacinth (Eichhromia crassipes)}, some illegal fishing, cultural belief, degradation of water quality, deforestation, illiegal hunting, unplanned human settlement developments and livestock migration.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

A total area of 17,449 sq km has been designated as protected area. There are 12 National Parks and 2 proposed National Parks, 34 Game Reserves, 1 Conservation Area, 1 Biosphere Reserve, 3 World Heritage Sites and 43 Game Controlled Areas. A more specific example is Rufiji where there are 1,160 sq km of Mangroves and several wetland areas.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Tanzania has identified several priority actions such as: implementation of policy and regulatory frameworks; enhancing regional and international cooperation; planning and coordination; education and information; research and development; ecosystems and species conservation and sustainable utilization; biodiversity monitoring and evaluation; and capacity building (personnel, facilities, and financial capacities)

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

The most significant step taken by Tanzania was the development and implementation of the Environmental Management Act (2004), which addresses the issues of Protected Areas, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), genetic resources, in situ and ex situ conservation, Genetically Modified Organisms, and ecosystem conservation and management. Several areas of success in Biodiversity conservation include: finalization of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations and Guidelines; review of relevant Sector policies to incorporate management of biodiversity issues; involvement of communities conservation activities by establishing Wildlife Management Areas and Community Forest Protected Areas; establishment of the National Intersectoral Wetlands Steering Committee (NAWESCO) and National Wetlands Working Group (NWWG) for the implementation of the Tanzania Wetland Management Plan; and establishment of Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) to conserve endangered species. Significant achievements include, an increase in elephant populations from 88,000 in 2000 to 120,000 in 2004 and several programmes for the conservation of coastal forests and mangrove have been implemented. In addition, the National Biosafety Framework, which is a system of legal, technical and administrative instruments, was set to address environmental safety and safety of humans and animals in the field of modern biotechnology.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

Tanzania has adopted the National guidelines for the selection, establishment and management of protected areas. The Environment Management Act (EMA) of 2004 states that regulations made under this section may prescribe the promotion of environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view of furthering protection of these areas. Tanzania has undertaken measures to rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems and promote the recovery of threatened species such as the ‘’Hifadhi Ardhi Shinyanga” (HASHI) project whose objective is to restore and conserve land through tree planting and indigenous tree conservation, and focus on core problems such as overgrazing, resource overexploitation, bush fire and fuel wood.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

Tanzania has achieved, by incorporating traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities in the EMA of 2004, an increase in the level of public awareness and cooperation among stakeholders on traditional and indigenous knowledge for sustainable utilization of biological resources. Specific projects undertaken for this article include: the sub-regional Gender, Biodiversity and local knowledge systems to strengthen Agriculture and Rural Development in Southern Africa (LinKS) project; traditional treatment for some animal and plant diseases; collection of information of case studies of the Maasai, Barbaig and Hadzabe communities on their interaction with the surrounding ecosystems; and encouraging revival and preservation of indigenous knowledge on sustainable utilization and management of resources.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme