31 July 2013

Tanzania: Lecturer Calls for Close Attention in Climate Change

THERE is need for close attention in the adaptation of climate change and approaches that go beyond words into action with potential to informing and guiding policy makers.

A Senior Lecturer in Forest Products Utilization at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Dr Suzan Augustino, made the call in Dar es Salaam on Monday during a five-day workshop organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The workshop aims at training and building capacity of the stakeholders on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation issues (REDD+) "Climate change impacts are likely to affect various sectors such as agriculture, health, forestry, energy, coastal and marine resources," she said.

Dr Augustino said that research by SUA (2010-2013) under the Climate Change Adaptation by centres around forests in the country, indicates that areas that used to grow perennial crops would be suitable for annual crops due to the increase of temperature.

"As a result, global warming would tend to accelerate plant growth and hence reduce the length of growing seasons and increase dry seasons," she noted.

Among the vulnerability in the agriculture sector include decreased crop production of different crops exacerbated by climate variability and unpredictability of seasonality, erosion of natural resource base and environmental degradation, "One of the crops to be affected include maize average yield that will decrease by 33 per cent countrywide," she noted and added that rangelands important for livestock keeping communities would be reduced.

In the health sector, the expert said that the current trend in both rainfall and temperature, the frequency of occurrences and impacts of malaria will further rise.

Other major diseases likely to rise include Dysentery, Cholera and Meningitis. In the energy sector, the expert noted that due to drought the highest water levels in most of the hydropower stations have progressively been declining. She mentioned Mtera and Nyumba ya Mungu hydropower plants that have been already affected.

Vegetation change due to temperature increase is expected to result in a 61.4 per cent decline of subtropical dry forests, a 64.3 per cent decline of subtropical moist forests and the complete disappearance of subtropical thorn woodland.

Dr Augustino also said REDD+ is a tool vital for conservation of forest biodiversity, water regulation, soil conservation, timber, forest and other non-timber forest products towards climate change adaptation.

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