Deforestation is a phenomenon that forms part of environmental degradation. The fact that deforestation is both a source and contributor to global warming, as it reduces the carbon sinks, cannot be contested . A case study research was carried out in Songea Tanzania aimed at establishing whether there was differential participation of people of different demographic characteristics in those activities that lead into tree cover decline. The study revealed that people of different age group and, sex categories played different roles in activities that lead to deforestation such as felling trees for firewood and felling trees for establishing and/or for expanding farms. It was observed that age group and sex categories influenced one’s involvement or participation in deforestation thus contributing differently by both activity and degree of forest cover reduction. This literally means that people of different demographic characteristics of age and sex contributed differently to the ailing deforestation process. From this end, it is logical and implicit arguing that the identification of actors in deforestation-related activities confirms the disaggregated manner by which population acts on the environment. Development of blanket conservation packages that are not focused on age group and sex categories of members the population in question remains too general and in-effective. To be precise, the planning and implementation of effective conservation initiatives has to take into account demographic characteristics of the population in question. The observed reality is that the population engages with the environment not as a unit but in its disaggregated manner, i.e. based on its demographic sub-categories . The theory behind a successful conservation initiative is based on unveiling the mechanism by which population acts when resulting to deforestation.
Cite this paper
M. Haule, "Population, Development and Deforestation in Songea District, Tanzania," Natural Resources
, Vol. 5 No. 1, 2014, pp. 15-24. doi: 10.4236/nr.2014.51004
 World Resources Institute, “Climate, Biodiversity and Forests,” 2006. www.wri.org
 C. Orians and M. Skumanich, “PopulationEnvironment Connection: What Does It Mean for Environmental Policy?” US Environmental Protection Agency, 2003. www.seatle.battelle.org
 URT, “The 1978 Population Census Report Volume II. Population by Age and Sex for Villages/wards and Urban,” Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, Dar es Salaam, 1981.
 URT, “The 1988 Population Census-Ruvuma regional Profile,” President’s of fice-Planning Commission, Dar es Salaam, 1990.
 URT, “Population and Housing Census General Report,” President’s Office, Planning Commission, Dar es Salaam, 2002.
 UNFPA, “Women and Environment,” Beijing Platform for Action, Paragraphs, 2001.
 URT, “Ruvuma Regional Socio-Economic Profile,” Government Printers, Dar es Salaam, 1997.
 URT, “The 2002 Population and Housing Census Report Vol. II. 2003. Age and Sex Distribution,” President’s Office-Planning and Privatization, Dar es Salaam, 2003.
 URT, “Baseline Study on Biomass Energy Conservation in Tanzania,” Dar Es Salaam, 2005, pp. 246-250.
 M. Haule, “Population Dynamics and Sustainable Forest Conservation: A Case Study of the West Matogoro Catchment Area in Songea,” PhD Thesis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Tanzania, 2010.
 M. Mbilinyi, “The End of Smallholder Farming? Gender and Structural Adjustment,” TGNP Gender and Development Seminar Series, Dar es Salaam, 1997.
 S. Punch, “Household Division of Labour: Generation, Gender, Age, Birth Order and Sibling Composition,” Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2001, pp. 800-823. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/095001701400438215
 Sherbinin, “Rural Household Micro-Demographics, Livelihoods and the Environment,” Background Paper Population-Environment Research Network Cyber Seminar, 2006, pp. 10-24. www.populationenvironmentresearch.org
 S. Dutta, “Mainstreaming Gender in Energy Planning Policies,” UNESCAP Project on Capacity Building on Integration of Energy and Rural Development Planning. Background Paper for Expert Group Meeting. 2003.
 T. Huvisa, “Deforestation, The Rural Energy Crisis and the Impacts on Women in Songea District,” Dissertation for Masters of Arts (Development Studies) (Mimeo), University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, 1997.
 F. Johnsen, “Burning with Enthusiasm: Fuel wood Scarcity in Tanzania in Terms of Severity, Impacts and Remedies,” Forum for Development Studies, 2007.www.umb.no/noragric/publications