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The management of forest resource in Zanzibar currently brought a serious debate among people discussing the causes of the mismanagement of forest resources in Zanzibar. Some feels that mismanagement is influenced by the social economic reasons such as poverty and low family income. Others think it is due to the country policy, but there are other people who think that it is caused by the traditional cultures, beliefs and customs.
Some studies identify that there are abundance of resources in many African countries including Tanzania, but poor environmental policies, poor governance, lack of transparency, corruption and low enforcement of laws are the major challenges for the management of natural resources. In Zanzibar Environmental Policy the weakness of the government is stated clearly that “In general, there is a weak enforcement of regulations and legislations related to Environment and natural resources in Zanzibar.
In Haiti the overlapping mandates and competencies, competition, and the occasional disinterest of the government institutions are significant obstacles to government involvement in environmental projects. Since the environment is a cross-cutting issue in many African countries, responsibilities for its protection and rehabilitation are divided among several government ministries.
According to Nabutola, Kenya Government on its own has severe weaknesses and in any case has not yet known. Thus the government needs to change the status quos without being intervened and being under the direct supervision of the government that most of the forest resource was taken away by them.
In Tanzania, the changes of human activities resulted to soil degradation, deforestation, ecosystem destruction, poaching, diseases to wild animals and plants, environmental pollution (water, soil and air) that tend to affect the management of natural resources. Zanzibar likewise has undergone a dramatic change in land use such as the conversion of grazing land, natural forest and bush lands into small scale farming areas. This has led to illegal harvesting and resulted to increased demands of natural resources thus led to resources depletion, violence and instability over the resources.
Urban West Region especially West “A” region has continued to experience a huge land degradation particularly deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Zanzibar Environmental policy being a guide for management of natural resources is said to contain only statements which directs the way to improve the coordination between the government and private institutions on utilization, protection of forest resources and even having integrated land use planning at national and local level. Despite of having such policy with statements regarding to environmental management the condition is said to be extremely worse to the extent that endangering peoples’ lives and there is no sign that the mismanagement of natural resources may be stopped soon. This brought a debate among stakeholders to think on the causes for mismanagement of forest resources in Pemba as leading to depletion of forest resources.
Evidences of actions and practices which results to mismanagement of forest resources in West A district worries the community if the situation could one day change as to ensure management of forest resources as it was assumed to exist some irresponsible NGO’s dealing with environmental issues, uncontrolled (unauthorized) settlements, lack of rehabilitation after extraction, destruction of coastal habitat, illegal harvesting and clearing of forests, a problem which remains to be a challenge to the community to find out the solution with no clear solution as it is assumed that may be people are not yet understood the root cause of mismanagement of forest resources especially in Zanzibar.
Overall, in order to reverse the situation, some efforts have to be done, including afforestation and banning of chain saws which are no longer successful as the deforestation is still proceeding at a very high rate with low community involvement. Each action which has to be taken must be linked to a specific policy, for example poor enforcement of laws, irresponsible government and population growth are closely linked to the country policy.
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