Mozambique and Tanzania have signed an agreement to work together to improve the management of their forests and conservation areas.
The deal between the National Directorate of Land and Forests of Mozambique (DNTF) and the Forestry and Beekeeping Division (FBD) of Tanzania was facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which has long stressed the need for increased regional cooperation on sustainable forest management.
The main threat to the forests is illegal cross-border timber trade which is believed to be significant. As part of the agreement both countries are to pool their intelligence and establish law enforcement units and check-points along the borders.
Authorities said that the coordinated clampdown on illegal logging would see an increase in taxes paid to government which in turn would be invested in local education and health infrastructure.
Over 20 million people live in coastal forest areas in eastern Africa. Their dependency on basic natural resources such as timber and fuel, coupled with the rapidly-rising population, is adding to the pressure on the region's forests.