Zanzibar, Tanzania

Area Protected

91,000 hectares

Emission Reductions

9.4 million tons

Project Type


Project Start


Expected 1st Verification


Market Standards


HIMA (Hifadhi ya Misitu ya Asili ya jamii) REDD+ Program, Zanzibar, Tanzania

About the Project

The HIMA Project is located on the Zanzibar islands of Pemba and Unguja, located off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. Although once heavily forested, Zanzibar’s forests have been subject to widespread exploitation, and remaining forests are being lost at a rate of more than 1% per year. As the population of Zanzibar continues to grow, now at 4.2% per annum, and people rely on charcoal and firewood as their main source of energy for cooking, deforestation rates are expected to increase. Terra Global has partnered with the Department of Forestry Development (DFD) and the community association JUMIJAZA, to initiate the Hifadhi ya Misitu ya Asili (HIMA) REDD+ Program, which translates to Conservation of Natural Forests. The HIMA Project emphasizes the importance of community-based natural resource management, a practice used across the Middle East and North Africa for more than 1,500 years. In Arabic “HIMA” means “protected place” and is an Islamic traditional system of community-based natural resource management for environmental protection. The tradition of the HIMA system is to have humans and nature harmoniously coexisting through the sustainable use and extraction of natural resources, and promotes food, energy, and water security.

The REDD+ Project benefits 45 Community Forest Management Areas (COFMAs), with another 11 in the process of being incorporated, to develop and strengthen the capacity of COFMAs as a means of supporting the co-management of existing forest resources. An aggregation entity, called Jumuiya ya Uhifadhi Misitu ya Jamii Zanzibar (JUMIJAZA), has been established by the communities to support program implementation, governance, and institutional arrangements of the HIMA Program, bringing climate finance directly to the communities.

Specific project activities are dedicated to women’s inclusion and comprise of:

  1. Develop community capacity, knowledge and project management institutions
  2. Strengthening of institutional arrangements, land tenure status and forest governance
  3. Forest protection through demarcation of forest, tenure and ownership boundaries
  4. Reduce fuelwood demand and consumption by increasing energy efficiency
  5. Creation of alternative sources of fuelwood through woodlots
  6. Support sustainable intensification of agriculture on existing agricultural lands
  7. Provide alternative livelihoods to the agents of deforestation
  8. To regenerate the mangrove forest through Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) and Enrichment Planting
  9. Maintain equitable and transparent benefit-allocation mechanisms

The protection, restoration and re-planting of mangroves is a crucial component of the HIMA REDD+ program. Mangrove forests serve as a habitat for a wide variety of species, and provide vital ecosystem services, such as strengthening the resilience of islands to withstand extreme weather events by acting as a buffer to storm surges and high tides. Mangroves are also responsible for sequestering a significant amount of oceanic carbon, also known as “blue carbon,” mitigating carbon emissions and improving the health of marine ecosystems.

The emission reductions generated from the climate component of the HIMA REDD+ Program will be used to provide revenue to support the climate, community and biodiversity objectives. The main objectives of the Project are three-fold:

  1. mitigation climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from land use activities that result in deforestation and forest degradation,
  2. improve community livelihoods, especially for women, by strengthening community land-use rights and through alternative livelihood activities and carbon finance, and
  3. contribute to biodiversity conservation by protecting standing forests and assisting in natural regeneration of forests as a means of improving wildlife habitat and marine ecosystems.

Community Benefits

The Project activities are women-centric and have been designed to reduce deforestation and degradation and to transform vulnerable communities that rely on the forest to meet their daily subsistence needs to thriving communities that derive economic benefits from alternative activities.

The Project is working with 56 marginalized rural communities located in seven districts of Unguja and Pemba. CoFMAs are engaged throughout the program design and implementation process in a participatory manner. CoFMA leaders are also engaged in several capacity building trainings to enhance participation in technical aspects of the program. Terra Global, through its local partners, works closely with communities and specifically women to ensure that their needs and wants are met through Program implementation.

The HIMA REDD+ Program aids in developing sustainable community forest management practices in Zanzibar, including the exploration of alternative livelihoods and income sources. Finances are directed toward improving the livelihoods and employment opportunities for local communities, which provides an economic alternative to practices that contribute to deforestation. The program’s recent expansion, to include another 11 CoFMAs, demonstrates the opportunity to expand the program to cover most of the forested areas on both Unguja and Pemba islands of Zanzibar and make critical enhancements to livelihoods through innovative design and implementation practices.  

Target community beneficiaries in the Project include:

•      20,000 rural households (estimated 100,000 women, children, and men) living in and adjacent to Project Areas in seven districts of Unguja and Pemba Islands, Zanzibar; 

•      56 Shehia Conservation Committees (SCCs) and their members; and

•      30 Village Savings and Loan groups and their members

Biodiversity Benefits

Zanzibar’s forests form part of the East Africa Coastal Forests Eco-region, one of the world’s 200 biodiversity hotspots. Mangroves are one of the most important forest resources in Zanzibar and protect seashores against the rising tides of climate change, help the sedimentary stability of Zanzibar’s coasts and provides important breeding sites for fish and other marine animals. There are ten species of mangrove trees found in Zanzibar supporting life on land and life below water.

Zanzibar is home to a number of rare and threatened animal species, including the Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii), which is endemic to the island of Unguja; Ader's duiker (Cephalophus adersi); Pemba flying fox (Pteropus voeltzkowi); two species of sea turtles; and several endemic birds, including the Fischer’s turraco, brown headed parrot and Pemba owl (Otus pembaensis) only found in Pemba. The forests of Zanzibar harbor a wide range of other endemic plants, mammals, reptiles, and birds. These species have significant ecological value, and at least 35 of them are listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) threatened species red list and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices II, a list of species requiring protection.

Climate Benefits

As Zanzibar’s population continues to grow and deforestation intensifies, the HIMA REDD+ project focuses on delivering climate benefits that fall into two main categories: mitigation of carbon emissions through the preservation of forests and mangroves, and helping communities adapt to new, more sustainable land use practices to adapt to a changing climate. By establishing designated woodlots for charcoal and fuelwood, and sustainably intensifying crop production on pre-existing agricultural lands, the project has been successful at relieving the pressures driving forest degradation. Another key component of the mitigation aspect of this project is mangrove restoration and blue carbon sequestration. Mangroves are one of the most effective ways of sequestering carbon in coastal and marine ecosystems, however, when they are lost, they release their stored carbon into the ocean and the atmosphere, and make coastal ecosystems and species more vulnerable to climate change.

The other climate benefit component of the HIMA REDD+ project is assisting in the adaptation of local communities to new, more sustainable forest management techniques. Terra Global has helped facilitate the establishment of forest governance structures, demarcation of COFMAs and community patrolling, providing the resources necessary for local communities to sustainably manage their own forests.