A Reflection on Tanzania’s Environment, People and the Future

The future of an environmental, economic and cultural resource such as Dalbergia melanoxylon is dependent on diverse factors, many having to do with conditions within its homeland in Africa and others having to do with Tanzania's ability to deal effectively with pressure from other countries interested in utilizing its natural resources. On the positive side is the fact that the country itself has a post-colonial history of peace. Its population is tolerant of differing ideas, religions and opinions and has remained relatively untouched by the conflicts seen in other African countries. Since independence the country has established a legal and social framework supporting community-based forest management, devolving authority over its natural resources from the central government to the village level. Local communities are therefore directly involved in protecting the resources that are necessary for their well-being.

On the down side, perhaps the greatest problem regarding conservation issues in Tanzania is its widespread poverty, a condition that can produce a multitude of social ills. Illegal tree harvesting, poaching and corruption exist in many countries, but the likelihood is certainly greater in one with the low living wage and gross domestic product of Tanzania. It is to their credit that its people are nevertheless concerned about their natural resources and eager to protect them. Both local NGOs and international groups find a receptive population, willing to assist in establishing programs to save its vital resources. The past 20 years have seen a burgeoning of conservation-oriented groups. In 1998 the government launched a campaign to plant 100 million trees before 2000 and surpassed the target. International conservation groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and the African Rainforest Conservancy have established an ongoing presence within the country. Tanzania was one of the earliest countries to be selected as a participant in REDD, the UN sponsored program to reduce global carbon emissions.

Despite the difficulties inherent in confronting global deforestation and overuse of natural resources, there is also a growing awareness among people everywhere that our human-caused problems can be confronted with human implemented solutions. Every year, in working with our colleagues in Africa, we are reminded again of their common goal to protect their precious resources through direct action and educational means. The people of Tanzania are justly proud of the magnificent country they are part of and eager to preserve it, not only for their own people, but  for those of the whole world.

For Generations to Come

The spectacles of geography, environmental beauty and  wildlife, including the magnificent array of species found only on the Africa mainland, are unrivalled anywhere in the world. Although Dalbergia melanoxylon grows in other countries, only the trees found in east Africa are sufficiently abundant and can fulfill the demanding specifications  for musical instruments. To our knowledge, the ABCP may be the only organization existing whose primary focus is directed towards replanting projects for mpingo. Since it takes several generations to reach harvestable maturity, there has been much reluctance to address the problem of its near–threatened status.

Nevertheless, many years ago, Sebastian Chuwa decided that he would start just such an effort, and began with sprouting 200 seedlings in his own nursery. In this act of faith he inspired the people of his country and people internationally to join in the effort, knowing that it would have little benefit and little result for themselves, but hopefully would be a gift to their children and their children’s children. We continue his work with the hope of seeing this cherished dream fulfilled.

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Preserving ecosystems that support wildlife such as this giraffe on the Serengeti Plain is part of the ethic promoted by the ABCP.

Please consider a donation to support the ongoing tree planting projects of the ABCP. Complete details are available on the ABCP Donation Form. Donations can be made by check and online via PayPal. By using the Amazon Smile Donor Program and designating the ABCP as your charity of choice, your Amazon.com purchase will support the ABCP. 100% of all money collected is sent to Tanzania to support th etree planting and educational initiatives that have been implemented by the ABCP since 1996.

 

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ABCP Website maintained by James E. Harris, 2000.
Last revised 23 Nov 2015.