Status and Trends
Tanzania is one of the twelve-megadiverse countries of the world, and the nation’s biological diversity has important economic, technological and social implications. The extensive national parks, 'the Eastern Arc' mountains, wetlands, coastal forests, marine and fresh water systems as outstanding reservoirs of plant and animal species make Tanzania one of the world's greatest reservoirs of biodiversity. Tanzania is also home to 31 endemic species of amphibians, 18 endemic species of lizards, 9 species of snakes, 10 bird species, 40% of the world's wild coffee varieties, and about 80% of the famous African violet flowers. It is a custodian of world heritage in the form of game reserves and national parks. The Selous Game Reserve, the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park are World Heritage Sites. Lake Manyara National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park have been designated as biosphere reserves.
Like many other countries in the world, Tanzania is affected by rapid loss of biodiversity, due to various reasons. Loss of freshwater and marine biodiversity is more seriously affecting the provision of ecosystem services. Ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, and dry-lands are transformed and, in some cases, irreversibly degraded. For instance, the country possesses important species with declining populations that are globally endangered and threatened. These include terrestrial animal species such as Black rhinoceros, Wild dog, Chimpanzee, African elephant, Cheetah, Wattled Crane; plant species such as Pterocarpus angolensis (Mninga) and Dalbergia melanoxylon (Mpingo). Aquatic species which are threatened include coelacanth, dugongs and sea turtles.