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Tanzania takes control over sustainable forestry

Local communities in the east African country of Tanzania have been given stewardship over their own forestry as part of a sustainability strategy.

As forest protection has emerged as a major issue on the international stage, protecting the environment through responsible timber management was a plank in the sustainable development goals agreed by the United Nations. The same policy area has to be addressed at upcoming climate change talks in Paris. Meanwhile, Norway has made a progressive bilateral pact with Liberia.

Nevertheless, local solutions have proved that global approaches are not the only way forward. The emphasis on sustainable forestry at all levels of governance should ensure that wood flooring in North Wales remains popular among people who think in ecological terms.

However, the policy being implemented in Tanzania could yet be viewed as an example of best practice. Forestry that occupies an area of two million hectares has been put under the control of local communities, and this stops the timber being plundered at the behest of the government. Instead, local people have the opportunity to decide on the issues facing their own forests.

It has been said that the outcome of devolving power to the level of communities has been positive, and people have embraced the chance to engage in small-scale activities like butterfly farming. This has meant that there has not been irresponsible logging. The government has not lost out because valuable resources have been preserved and it has been possible for them to be looked after for little cost.

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