Understanding the effects of forest management strategies is especially important to avoid unregulated natural resource extraction that leads to ecosystem degradation. In addition to the loss of crucial forest services, inefficiencies at converting these natural resources into economic gain for people ultimately exacerbates poverty. Therefore, it is important to know which conservation strategies have proven to be effective in preventing ecosystem degradation and thus be encouraged in future management plans. Here, we used a high-resolution remotely sensed dataset spanning 15 years to study forest cover dynamics across various protected areas in Tanzania. Our findings highlight particular management approaches more effective in preventing forest cover loss and promote forest cover gain, and provide valuable information for conservation efforts. Results show that National Parks have the least forest cover loss, whereas multiple-use Game Controlled Areas have the highest rates of forest loss. In fact, results suggest that these multiple use areas tend to lose more forest cover than areas with no protection or management status at all. These findings suggest the need for more effective strategies for enforcing the existing policies to ensure that socio-economic benefits to local communities are maximized and national interests are sustained.
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