GDEST 2008 Conference Sessions
Theme 2 - Analysis of Regional Challenges
Information and Communication Technology for Sustainable Forest Management in Tanzania: Challenges and Opportunities
Japhet Kashigili, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is believed to accelerate Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), which advocates for the management of forests according to the principles of sustainable development. SFM is latest in a progression of forest management concepts preceded by sustainable forestry and sustainable yield forestry which uses very broad social, economic and environmental goals. While the role of ICT is widely recognized, the level of ICT utilization in Tanzania particularly in the forest sector is not well known. Based on this ground, this paper presents the status of ICT usage in Tanzania, depicting a case of Kitulangalo Forest Reserve in Morogoro Tanzania. The important issues explored include the level of ICT inclusion in the forest management plans, type of ICT being used and how ICT has facilitated the management and decision making. The findings revealed that there is very low penetration of ICT services and applications. The main challenges/constraints identified include; poor ICT infrastructure development, high cost of broadcast equipment, high cost of access/ interconnectivity and electricity power problems including inadequate experienced ICT personnel. Despite the challenges, there are opportunities for improvement that include the existence of forest policy that recognizes ICT as a means for sustainable forest management and prospects for investment in ICT. The paper concludes by suggesting continued propagation of the ICT to improve data management, information and knowledge sharing.