Estimates suggest that more than 70% of the original forest cover has been destroyed and only about 5,400 sq km of forest remain on the mountains. Most of the forest has been lost in the past 100 years due to conversion to farmland, unsustainable timber harvesting and uncontrolled fires. Conserving these forest habitats is very important for the global community and for the people of Tanzania. Most of the remaining forests are within government forest reserves. These government forest reserves are poorly funded and have few staff, however they provide the mainstay for conservation in the area.
Since 1998 local people often supported by civil society organisations have been increasingly involved in the management of the Eastern Arc Forests. This reflects a change in forest management policy in Tanzania.