ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) --
Hectares of natural forests have been cleared by
artisanal gold miners in northwestern Tanzania’s district of
Mbogwe, posing a serious environmental threat, authorities said
Mbogwe District Forest Officer, said the increasing number of
small-scale gold miners poses a serious threat to Mbogwe Bukombe
Forest Reserve, which is close to Moyowosi and Kigosi Game
According to Bwai,
artisanal gold miners have been cutting down trees for building
their mine pits, hence became a challenge towards sustainable
“We’ve been fighting
against the vice, but the fight seems to get out of hands as the
speed of deforestation is alarming,” said Bwai.
Charles Tui, Mbogwe
District Environmental Officer said: “Apart from arresting the
perpetrators, we’ve now resorted to educating them on the use of
iron bars in reinforcing their mine pits instead of logs.”
Mbogwe District Council executive director, said the government
planned to plant 1.5 million trees every year to replenish the
highly degraded areas from the anthropogenic factors like
uncontrolled mining activities.
A forest inventory
by the Tanzania Forest Services Agency in 2015 found that
forests and wooded areas cover over 48 million hectares of land.
It also found that wood remains the main source of fuel for
Tanzanians, even in urban areas.
deforestation rate in Tanzania is approaching 373,000 hectares
every year, making it among the highest in East Africa.