The REDD+ initiative being run in Zanzibar by CARE International is called Piloting REDD in Zanzibar Through Community Forest Management. In Swahili, the initiative is referred to as Hifadhi misitu Zanzibar (Conserve forests in Zanzibar) or HIMA. HIMA is using a tailor-made PFM approach based on CFM agreements1 to reach goals that are specifically pro-poor and gender equitable, in line with CARE’s mission. The initiative is building on CARE’s previous work with PFM in Zanzibar, expanding their efforts on Zanzibar’s largest island of Unguja and extending into Pemba, the less-developed northern islands.

The predominant vegetation in Zanzibar is coral rag, a dry, shrubby, relatively nutrient-poor, but biodiversity-rich forest type growing on high calcium soils. This landscape is not carbon-rich, but HIMA was selected for funding by the RNE because of CARE’s outstanding reputation and proven capacity with forestry projects in Zanzibar. The hope is that CARE can repeat its successes while carving out a unique niche for REDD+ in Zanzibar.

13.1 Basic facts: Where, who, why and when

13.1.1 Geography

Zanzibar is a unique place in Tanzania. As a set of islands off the eastern coast of the Tanzanian mainland, Zanzibar has historically been politically separate from the rest of the country (formerly Tanganyika). In mainland Tanzania, most villages were assembled during the villagization2 period of the early 1970s, while villages in Zanzibar are long-standing community entities and thus have different structures and management. Standards of living in Zanzibar are relatively high, as tourism, fisheries and trade have brought economic prosperity and amenities not available in rural parts of mainland Tanzania.

HIMA focuses on 27,650 ha within Unguja and Pemba provinces, including 22,650 ha of upland forest and 5000 ha of mangrove forest (CARE 2010). Out of the 40 villages in this intervention area (29 in Unguja), CIFOR-GCS conducted interviews in four, all located in South (Kusini) Unguja district, at 7–35 masl (Figure 13.1). The district has annual precipitation of 1635 mm and three types of forest: coral rag forest, deep soil forest and mangrove.


Figure 13.1 Map of the REDD+ initiative in Zanzibar.

Data sources: CARE, GADM, OpenStreetMap and World Ocean Base.

In 2009, the total population of Zanzibar was estimated to be 1,206,000, based on a projection from the 2002 census assuming a 3.1% annual growth rate (NIRAS 2010). People tend to look for opportunities in Zanzibar because of its high standard of living relative to the mainland. This drives migration from villages on both the mainland and the islands to Zanzibar town, and overcrowding in town compels people to move to areas just outside of town.

The top three exports from Zanzibar in 2009 were animal products, vegetable products and base metal/articles of base metals. Tourism has also played an important role in the Zanzibar economy. In 2009, GDP per capita was double its 2005 levels at TZS 726,000 (USD 483; Socio-Economic Survey of 2009).

Natural resource management in Zanzibar is challenging because of a lack of coordination among land, water and forest policies. The ministries in charge of natural resource management have overlapping responsibilities and generally do not cooperate. There have also been conflicts over boundaries between villages and individual landowners, but these have been resolved through government mediation and without violence.

Women face economic disadvantages in Zanzibar; they typically do not own land or have secure employment and thus have low incomes. Moreover, they were excluded from previous development interventions. In contrast, HIMA aims to involve women in the implementation of its REDD+ activities.

13.1.2 Stakeholders and funding

The primary proponent for this initiative is CARE International in Tanzania. CARE is a private nonprofit international organization with a long-term presence in Zanzibar. The Zanzibar Government is also a key partner in HIMA, with the Department of Environment (under the Office of the First Vice President), Department of Forestry and Non-Renewable Natural Resources, and Department of Land all playing significant roles in the initiative. HIMA is also collaborating with three umbrella organizations in Zanzibar: the Jozani Environmental Conservation Association (JECA) in Central Unguja, the South Environmental and Development Conservation Association (SEDCA) in South Unguja, and the Ngezi-Vumawimbi Natural Resources Conservation Organization (NGENARECO) in Pemba. In addition, CARE works with JUMIJAZA (Jumuiya ya Uhifadhi wa Misitu Asili-Zanzibar), a federation for community forestry that involves 40 shehia (groups of villages) across Zanzibar. JUMIJAZA serves as the carbon aggregator, managing the sale of carbon credits. Finally, CARE has contracted Terra Global for carbon MRV.

HIMA was awarded USD 5.6 million from the RNE REDD+ Fund. CARE planned to sell carbon credits through voluntary carbon markets (on behalf of the community), marketing the credits as pro-poor and gender equitable.

13.1.3 Motivation

CARE has been working with the Department of Forestry, JECA, SEDCA and communities in Unguja on PFM since 1997. Previous efforts focused on establishing clear tenure, providing environmental education, protecting biodiversity, protecting and enhancing forests stocks through afforestation or reforestation, and supporting both forest-based and non-forest-based livelihoods. These efforts primarily targeted government-owned protected forests, but in 2003, CARE expanded into community forests and continued that focus in the REDD+ initiative. Previous forest conservation efforts were deemed successful because they converted free-access forests into managed forest reserves and significantly reduced illegal forest activities.

CARE chose Zanzibar for their REDD+ initiative because they had already established a solid reputation, developed relationships and built local capacity on Unguja. They were a logical candidate for funding from the RNE REDD+ Fund because those funds were earmarked for NGOs only, and CARE was the only international NGO working with PFM in Zanzibar. The activities proposed for HIMA did not differ substantively from their previous work on PFM. Specifically, HIMA has both set up new community forest management agreements (COFMA) and sought to extend existing agreements from 5 to 30 years.

HIMA is targeting high biodiversity forests within Zanzibar. The major threats to these forests come from local actors living in the intervention areas who require fuelwood for cooking. Small-scale agriculture, illegal charcoal production, NTFP harvest, seaweed farming (which requires wood products) and forest fires (caused by hunting) also threaten forest health in Zanzibar. However, CARE is also concerned about outside actors, which are expected to place more pressure on Zanzibar’s forests in future years.

13.1.4 Timeline

The first proposal seeking REDD+ funding for this initiative was written in July 2009. The agreement with Norway became official on 1 April 2010, and the official launch of HIMA occurred in June 2010. The CIFOR-GCS gathered information on baseline conditions through meetings with communities and women in July 2010, just before on-the-ground activities began. Later in 2010, field activities began, included raising awareness of REDD+ and establishment of a participatory monitoring program. Figure 13.2 lists other activities implemented in 2011 through 2013. We are not aware of any new activities planned in 2014.


Figure 13.2 Timeline of the REDD+ initiative in Zanzibar.

13.2 Strategy for the initiative

HIMA aims to avoid deforestation and forest degradation and enhance existing carbon stocks by promoting afforestation and reforestation, improved cooking stoves, and alternative livelihoods (such as beekeeping) that place less pressure on forest resources. The low carbon stocks in the existing coral rag forest influenced the initiative to focus on planting trees for fuelwood. This strategy is also intended to generate co-benefits for local communities and for biodiversity conservation.

While CARE planned to seek VCS and CCBA verification, as of July 2014, this process had not yet begun. The HIMA proposal set the reference level of deforestation at 1000 ha of forest per year in the intervention area. Project proponents are unsure if this represents an accurate assessment of deforestation rates, but it remains the best estimate available despite plans to update this number. Thus, the initiative is measuring avoided deforestation in relation to this original estimate. One important source of leakage is likely to be charcoal imported from mainland Tanzania.

CARE has already worked in the area with a previous version of HIMA; the previous project established Jozani National Park and encouraged surrounding villages to establish village conservation committees to help enforce conservation measures. That version of HIMA started in 1997, and by 2007, CARE had visited all of the villages in Unguja to set up the project. Of the 29 villages selected in the pilot project, 17 of them have worked with CARE previously. Those 17 are all on Unguja Island, and the new villages are on Pemba Island. CARE solicited recommendations from project partners operating in Pemba to identify Pemba villages to participate in the project. HIMA plans to bring benefits through selling carbon credits to approximately 16,600 rural households (estimated at 99,000 men, women and children) living adjacent to the forests in seven districts of Unguja and Pemba Islands. The project will also benefit a variety of management institutions at medium scales, including 49 village conservation committees (VCCs), 30 village savings and loan groups, 3 umbrella organizations of VCCs (JECA, SEDCA, and NGENARECO), the Department of Commercial Crops, Fruits and Forestry, and 59 shehia.

A variety of institutions also benefit from the project. First, CARE has a variety of partners who are working to implement PFM in Zanzibar, including the Department of Environment, Department of Forestry, Ministry of Land, JECA, SEDCA and NGENARECO. If carbon credits are sold, Terra Global will recover transaction costs and charge a fee for their help in monitoring and marketing of carbon. JUMIJAZA will share benefits from carbon credits, as they will help find buyers and negotiate prices on behalf of the villages and then deduct their administrative costs from the credit price.

After Terra Global and JUMIJAZA have covered their management costs, 100% of the benefits are intended for the communities, with the use of the carbon revenues depending on their system for benefit sharing. CARE also plans to pay communities forest conservation grants before carbon credits have been verified, as an incentive to keep community members engaged and motivated.

The study area has received many types of assistance from the national government and local and international NGOs contemporaneous with the REDD+ initiative. Local NGOs have assisted with beekeeping, micro-financing, and beach conservation and management (2008–2009). International NGOs have supplied bricks, bicycles, educational support, ecological monitoring and water well improvements (2007–2013). The national government has provided support for beach conservation, tree planting, agriculture, fisheries, seaweed cultivation, health initiatives (malaria control) and education (2006–2010).

13.3 Smallholders in the initiative

There are four intervention villages in our sample: ZANZ1 to ZANZ4, with populations ranging from 2730 (745 households in ZANZ1) to 626 (172 households in ZANZ2) (Table 13.1). All are located on Unguja Island.

Table 13.1 Characteristics of the four villages studied based on the 2010 survey.





Total land area (ha)





Total forest area (ha)





History and demography

Year established





Number of households





Increase in number of households in last two years





Total population





Population increase in
last two years





Number of people who migrated to village since 2008





Number of people who migrated away from village since 2008





Number of residents working away from village





Number of ethnic groups/tribes





Name of largest group






Distance to closest market by most common means of transport (km/min)





Elementary school





Secondary school





Health center





Road access in all seasons





Bank or other source of formal credit






Main agricultural commodity





Price of a hectare of good quality agricultural land (USD)





In most of Tanzania, the village is the most important organizing structure in daily life, but in Unguja (where all of the study villages are located), villages are organized into groups of two or three that are referred to as shehias, which are led by a sheha and sheha committee. The regional commissioner appoints the sheha, and the sheha appoints the sheha committee with help from the district commissioner (Tidemand 2003). Local authorities stay in these positions until they choose to step down, at which point another individual is appointed. This is different from the tradition in mainland Tanzania, where the local government is elected by popular vote.

Women’s participation varies across villages. In ZANZ1, women primarily influence decision-making through their husbands, whereas in ZANZ3 and ZANZ4 they participate directly in decision-making. Women participate in forest rule-making and monitoring in ZANZ4 only. Ethnic composition is almost entirely Swahili in all villages, as Zanzibar is the ethnic center for Swahili.

Unguja is one of the most developed regions of Tanzania and, as the island is a tourism destination, much of the area has paved roads and electricity. However, while some tourism benefits are felt in the villages via opportunities for business and wage labor, the economies of the villages in South Unguja remain mostly separate from tourism activities. Instead, most families engage in agriculture and livestock keeping. Reliance on forest products is also much lower than in other regions, primarily because coral rag does not have any large or valuable timber species. Villagers report collecting NTFPs. Some ZANZ3 and ZANZ4 villagers, many ZANZ1 villagers, and most to all ZANZ2 villagers collect NTFPs. Primary NTFPs are fuelwood and wood for charcoal making; very few households (less than 20%) harvest timber.

The relatively high levels of development on Unguja have had an impact on land-use activities and forest cover. All of the four study villages reported increases in permanent agriculture, and three of the four villages reported a decrease in forest cover and quality (ZANZ2’s forests stayed the same). The biggest pressures in Zanzibar, like other regions of Tanzania, come from smallholders living inside the intervention area. Thus, the initiative relies on these smallholders to take actions to reduce carbon emissions.

13.4 Challenges facing the initiative

Several challenges threaten HIMA’s ability to effectively reduce emissions from forest carbon. First, controlling leakage into nearby forests remains a substantive challenge, as villagers are accustomed to harvesting wood illegally from nearby forests. Second, community-level capacity for the technical aspects of REDD+ is low, so HIMA will need to provide training in order to engage villagers in carbon development, monitoring and marketing.

One concern about the initiative is whether its benefit-sharing arrangements are fair. It is not clear whether the funds allocated for livelihood enhancement are sufficient for distribution to all target groups. Because the initiative is seeking to protect forest on small parcels of land, there is strong competition between households’ need for that land and the initiative’s conservation goals. Households also reported concerns that in the absence of clear land tenure, their agricultural lands will be converted into conservation areas.

If Tanzania adopts a National REDD+ Trust Fund as the mechanism for REDD+ payments, it will have to be resolved how this relates to Zanzibar’s governance structures. This will also affect how the JUMIJAZA-REDD+ aggregation entity for community carbon credits operates.

Some intervention ideas were not incorporated into the final project design, for example, promoting household use of liquid petroleum gas in order to reduce emissions from fuelwood and charcoal. It was later seen that the initiative did not have the capacity to follow through with this idea. To have an impact on forest cover, it would have required a scale of operation, specialist knowledge and resource allocation (in terms of staff numbers and time) that were simply not available.


Firewood in Zanzibar. (Demetrius L Kweka/CIFOR)

Zanzibar has a different history and different laws and governing bodies to the mainland. As REDD+ is a national strategy stemming from the bilateral agreement with Norway, the mainland government wants to coordinate all REDD+ activities, but the Zanzibar Government would like to consider the REDD+ project at the Zanzibar level. The different management structures between mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar complicate the tenure clarification process, as Zanzibar has its own Land Act with accompanying land-use policies. The project, above all else, requires multisectoral coordination, which will be difficult to achieve in both Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania. This task is further complicated by the recent separation of the Department of Environment and Department of Forestry, which were previously one entity and are now experiencing communication issues.

Finally, while HIMA proponents plan to sell carbon credits as a strategy to generate benefits, the carbon certification process has not yet begun. This represents the most formidable challenge to the project, as the entire strategy rests on gaining carbon credit certification.

13.5 Lessons from the initiative

The HIMA initiative faces a mix of conditions, from favorable to unfavorable for its success. On the favorable side, the high educational attainment and high standard of living in Zanzibar relative to the rest of Tanzania increase the chances that village participants have the capacity to understand REDD+ concepts and implement REDD+ activities. CARE has a strong reputation for successful forest conservation projects and for delivering good livelihood and gender equity outcomes.

While existing capacity is undoubtedly an asset to any organization, the lack of differentiation between previous and current HIMA activities might hinder this new initiative’s ability to meet goals that are unique to REDD+. In other words, CARE has already demonstrated its capacity to work effectively in Zanzibar, but it is less clear whether the REDD+ format will be something that CARE can effectively translate into the Zanzibar context without simply repeating the same approach to PFM projects that they have pursued since 1997.

The coral rag forests of Zanzibar may present the greatest barrier to REDD+ success. Coral rag is not carbon-dense forest, and Zanzibar was included as a REDD+ site largely because of the expectation that CARE would deliver pro-poor and gender-equitable outcomes, not because there was any possibility of large reductions in emissions. In lieu of substantive carbon benefits, the proponents have suggested that the real value in the CARE HIMA project might be to build capacity for REDD+ among national-level actors, which can then be harnessed in future REDD+ efforts in Tanzania.

In summary, HIMA seems likely to realize social benefits and ease dependence on forest resources, but it is unclear if those successes would result in a measurable reduction in carbon emissions and generate carbon credits. Thus, success for HIMA is more likely to be measured in terms of its influence on the development of national REDD+ policy and other REDD+ initiatives on the mainland. The HIMA experience also speaks to the perpetual challenge of differentiating new initiatives in sustainable forest management and conservation. As the funding landscape shifts in response to trends in forest governance structures, proponents must strike a balance between honoring past approaches and forging innovative strategies.

13.6 Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the following individuals for their critical insights into this initiative: Bi Fatma, Raja Jarrah, Amour Bakar, Ali Juma, Miza Khamis, J Mbarouk, Ali Hilal, Ali Thani, Abdul-Mati Jecha, Michael Juel and other members of the CARE team. Thank you also to Hassan Ishaka Bakari and Tamrin Said of the Department of Forestry who shared their knowledge with us.

We could not have completed the fieldwork without the assistance of SEDCA and JECA leaders Haji Haji and Khadija Ramadhani, the support of the shehia leadership, and the participation of local residents.

The baseline data were collected by our field assistants, Julius Edward and Christina Justine.

1 The Government of Zanzibar gives the community a long-term lease (40 years) to land and forest therein to implement REDD+ and benefit from it. The community enjoys the ownership rights and benefits for a specified amount of time. Joint forest management is when the community splits the benefits with the government; CFM is when the community is entitled to all the benefits and ownership rights.

2 Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere implemented a series of socialist policies in the late 1960s and early 1970s referred to as Ujamaa (unity) that reorganized rural Tanzanian communities into village structures (McHenry 1979).


Box G
REDD+ in Tanzania: The national context