The population of Zanzibar is over 1.5 million, with a land area of 2,462 square kilometres. It is believed that Zanzibar became separated from mainland Tanzania after the ice age, as sea levels rose. Zanzibar is known as a "spice island" since it produces cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and black pepper.
The economy in Zanzibar relies on fishing and harvesting algae. The marine ecosystems provide a safe space for fish from the Indian Ocean, serving as a fish nursery.
Tourism and climate change issues are causing grave concerns in Zanzibar. Many conservation projects are underway to protect the endangered wildlife and lands in this area.
As a small island, Zanzibar is on the global front lines of climate change impact. Planting mangroves on the coastline of Pemba will protect it from the increased severity and frequency of coastal storms, which have dramatically altered rainfall patterns and are threatening the landscape. This is an important intervention to enable the community to adapt to their changing climate, addressing the negative impact climate change is having on local livelihoods and the local fishing and farming economy.
The dense roots of mangrove trees shelter coastlines through storm protection and shore stabilization, and prevent soil erosion and flooding. Up to 3/4 of all tropical fish are born in these nutrient rich habitats, and they protect coral reefs from sedimentation and by filtering out toxins at the shore. Mangroves also sequester large amounts of carbon, at higher rates than terrestrial forests. In Pemba, as well as globally, mangrove forests are being degraded, putting livelihoods and our environment at risk.
Our work here with Mikoko Kwanza and their affiliate community Zacadia empowers the community to plant mangrove trees and provides education about the importance of these trees in stabilizing shorelines and preventing erosion, protecting biodiversity and ocean habitats, and sequestering carbon.