DAR ES SALAAM, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- An official said on Tuesday Tanzania planned to come up with a new management plan for mangrove conservation.
Zawadi Mbwambo, Director of Resources Management with state-owned Tanzania Forest Services Agency, said adoption of the new plan will replace the existing one, which has been in place for nearly three decades.
Mangroves grow along coastal areas in deltas where cold water river enters the ocean. Tanzania is one of few countries which have been blessed with mangrove forests, with an estimated 115,000 hectares of the trees.
Mangroves are tropical trees that stabilize coastlines, protect communities from storms, provide critical habitats for many animals, and store vast amounts of carbon.
Opening a four-day National Mangroves Stakeholders Workshop , Mbwambo said the government through the agency and other local and international institutions were collecting data on mangroves that will be used to formulate the plan.
"The existing mangrove management plan was established 27 years ago. However, it has posed a challenge that we are currently not certain of the status of mangrove production and destruction," he said in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
The government is currently prohibiting people from harvesting mangroves which are facing extinction, said the official.
"We have suspended issuance of licences for harvesting mangroves because we doubt that they are among the endangered species," said Mbwambo.
According to him, the new management plan was delayed for years due to financial constraints.
"Surveying areas with mangroves is quite difficult due to the nature of the places where they grow. We can't walk into water to count them. We need water vessels like boats or some other technologies to do so," he said.
Mbwambo said there were institutions including the Wetland International, World Bank and the University of Dar es Salaam's Institute of Marine Science in Zanzibar and the World Wide Fund for Nature which were currently collecting data on mangroves.
He was optimistic that the data will be gathered in one year to be followed by the development of the new mangrove management plan.
Wetland International has spent about 150, 000 Euros (about 175,000 U.S. dollars) for conducting a survey of mangroves at the Rufiji Delta in Kibiti district, Coast region.
The survey is part of a 10-year project, which aims at surveying the entire coastal line where mangroves grow, said the Director of East Africa for Wetland International, Julie Mulonga. Enditem