Conservation And Protection Of Wetland Ecosystems.

In Tanzania, millions of poor people depend on wetlands for fishing, agriculture, livestock keeping and collection of a variety of minor wetland products. The wetlands further provide essential services in the form of purifying water, flood control and ensuring year-round flow of water for human consumption, irrigation and hydropower generation. Wetlands finally provide important eco-tourism destinations and contain significant biodiversity values.

Despite their significance to human life and socio-economic development, there is a trend of wetland loss over the years. In the year 2015, the Wildlife Division collected data on various parameters of wetland and noted that wetland coverage countrywide fell from 37,346.3 sq. km in 1994 (15.5% of the total national land cover) to 31,411.4 sq. km in 2015 (13%), representing a permanent loss of 5,934.9 sq. km of wetlands equivalent to 2.5% of the total national land cover.

This loss of the wetland ecosystems is mainly due to uncontrolled encroachment and increased human activities into wetland ecosystems. The decline has denied the government revenues since about USD 1.3 billion of the economy (33% GDP) depends on wildlife and wetlands tourism. Also, it increased risk of reduction of water for Hydroelectric Power generation in Ruaha basin and Kilombero Valley Flood Plain, including water for irrigation. Due to these problems, there have been debates and concerns by the parliamentarians, among environmental experts and the public on the need for effective implementation of control measures to conserve, restore and protect wetlands in Tanzania

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