Tanzania is set to lose its entire forest cover within the next 100-160 years if more is not done to reduce the current rate of deforestation, the United States-based environmental watchdog Conservation International (CI) has said.

Forests presently cover around 385,000 sqkm of the country according to CI, but they are disappearing at a rate of 2,300 sqkm a year as a result of tree-felling for charcoal production and to create agricultural land. Unless proper natural resource management strategies are put in place this situation is only set to get worse as population and economic growth put increasing pressure on land for food and electricity shortages especially in rural and semi-urban areas raise the demand for charcoal as a cheap and readily available alternative fuel.

The loss of forest cover and the methods used to achieve it contribute to the production of greenhouse gases and the negative effects of climate change including drought, flooding, poor harvests, water shortages and the forced migration of people from the worst hit areas.