World Circular Economy Forum side-event: Forests and Circular Economy in Tanzania

The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) will once again take place in Helsinki, Finland, from May 30th to June 2nd, 2023. Before the WCEF is taking place in Finland, the Embassy of Finland in Dar es Salaam will organize an official side event of the WCEF focusing on the circular economy, particularly in the Tanzanian forest sector. This side event is also a part of the annual Nordic Week in Tanzania, organized by the Nordic Embassies together. The event is invitation only.


Tanzania's Forest Reference Emission Level in 2017 estimated forest loss to the tune of 467,420 ha per year due to deforestation. Shifting cultivation accounts for more than 80% of forest loss in the country, in addition to other causes such as bio-energy, illegal use of forest resources, human activities, and livestock grazing. The wood demand deficit in Tanzania in 2015 was 19.5 million cubic meters per year due to dwindling forest resources. The demand for round wood only had a deficit of 2.3 million cubic meters, which is expected to increase to 3 million cubic meters between 2025 and 2030. With an increase in population and thus in human activities and developments, such figures will rise even further, risking not only the ability of the forest resources to serve nature but also society and the economy.

Planting trees and protection of natural forests is a classic example of a circular economy because trees have the potential to produce products after they are harvested and can offer a variety of benefits over the course of their life. On the other hand, harvesting of trees, create rooms for the planting of new trees, which also helps to create jobs, often in rural areas. Tanzania is one of the few nations in the world that still has land with the ideal soils and climate for effective tree plantations. Tanzania is also home to mangroves, miombo woodlands, and montane forests. As a result, it offers a chance to manage forests for the protection of biodiversity and the provision of ecological and socioeconomic services.

Already, there is higher interest in Tanzania for both small and large-scale tree growers to increase the size of forest plantations in both the southern highlands and Lake Zone. In addition, plantation forestry and wood-based processing have a chance of success and are socially and ecologically responsible, with the potential to reduce significantly poverty in rural areas by creating jobs and economic development. Moreover, communities in Tanzania are willing to engage in sustainable natural forest management, especially when there are incentives for their participation. Such community engagements have proven to support community developments and the protection of natural forests from deforestation.

Despite the aforementioned prospects, Tanzania has seen limited investment in plantation forests, and efforts to protect the remaining natural forest have not helped to stem the decline of these forests. On the other hand, as Tanzania's population grows, greater pressure is placed on the remaining natural forests, leading to their unsustainable use. Demand for industrial wood supplies from plantation forests is also increasing, and the rate at which new plantations are being established does not appear to be keeping up with such current and future demand.

The purpose of this event is therefore to bring relevant stakeholder communities together (including government offi cials, the private sector, civil society, and development partners) to discuss;

  • Program of the event
  • Current developments in the forest sector ;
  • How to incentive both tree planting and sustainable natural forest management;
  • The evolving landscape of engineered wood raw materials and the sustainability of plantation forestry; and
  • How to address the higher demand for forest resources in the circular economy context