THE Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment Fund (EAMCEF) has issued more than 7.5bn/- for implementation of environmentally friendly projects meant to preserve biodiversity around forests found in 15 districts since its inception.
Presenting EAMCEF’s report to the13th meeting of the African Consortium of African Funds for the Environment (CAFÉ) in Arusha recently, EAMCEF Board of Directors Chairman Professor John Kessy said the subvention covered the costs of more than 400 projects.
He expounded that the projects include tree planting, adding that more than 24 million trees have been planted in an area covering above 27,000 hectares of the Eastern Arc mountains.
Other projects, according to Professor Kessy, are dairy cattle keeping – their numbers going beyond 550 (for goats) and above 100 for cows.
There are also success stories in chicken (15,000), pigs (more than 800) and beekeeping for honey and other produce that registered more than 1,400 beehives.
The chairperson revealed other areas the Fund supported as efficient and modern energy-saving stoves in 15,000 households, as well as improvement of barriers between villages and the reserve forests that are meant to be conserved. They cover more than 2,500 kilometres in 130 villages.
EAMCEF was officially registered in Tanzania on 6th June 2001. It is a Trust Fund that now functions as a long-term and reliable funding mechanism to support Community Development, Biodiversity Conservation and Applied Research Projects that promote the biological diversity, ecological functions and sustainable use of natural resources in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania.
Professor Kessy noted that EAMCEF projects are successfully implemented for benefits of villagers, the forests as well as animals and birds found therein. As the villagers get the projects, they from time-to-time stop encroaching the reserves they live adjacent to.
Such reserves are Chome in Kilimanjaro region;Amani, Magamba and Nilo in Tanga; the nature reserve forests – Uzungwa Scarp, Kilombero, Mkingu, Uluguru and Udzungwa National Park found in Iringa and Morogoro regions. Villagers have since increased their income, now lead improved lives and are good conservation ambassadors.
Prof Kessy said the Eastern Arc Mountains are among the most important areas for the conservation of biological diversity in the world. The Eastern Arc Mountains are a chain of ancient mountains covered by rainforests and grasslands in Tanzania and Kenya. Scientists believe that the forests have survived on the Eastern Arc Mountains for over 30 million years, and were once connected to the forests of the Congo Basin and West Africa.
Speaking at the meeting, CAFÉ President Dr Theophile Zognou said the association was born in Tanzania at a first meeting held in Dar es Salaam in September 2011.
The main objective was to unite concerted efforts in conserving forests’ natural resources in Africa. It has since attracted 19 members, EAMCEF being one of them.