ZANZIBAR is conducting tree census to document the types and sizes of trees including fruits and cloves plants in natural and residential areas, as President Ali Mohamed Shein appeals to people to plant more trees.
"This is an important opportunity towards achieving development goals such as MDGs, Zanzibar 2020 Vision, Poverty reduction strategy and our Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) 2010/2015 manifesto," Dr Shein said while launching the event held at Jozan Forest, South Unguja.
Dr Shein asked Zanzibaris to plant more trees in a bid to conserve the endangered environment, since data shows that about 95 per cent of the people in the Islands still rely on forests for energy. He thanked Norway for its support of the one-year project estimated to cost 750,000 US dollars.
Dr Shein also observed that the census will help Zanzibar improve its fruits and spices mainly cloves production. Zanzibar is now implementing programmes to revive cloves and other spices, as other sources of foreign income. "I ask the Ministry of Agriculture to work with municipal councils to plant trees along roads.
We need to keep our islands green, since the plants are also important in rain formation," he said. Dr Shein reminded people at the gathering that there were many benefits from natural forests including wood, a home for many wild species and traditional herbs being used by many people in curing diseases.
According to Mr Sheha Hamdan, Director for Forestry Department, INDUFOR from Finland has been assigned to conduct the exercise. He mentioned some of the Zanzibar conserved forests as Kiwengwa, Chumbe-Kisiwani, Ufufuma and Ngezi. He said similar census was conducted 15 years ago and the results at that time indicated that Zanzibar was short of forests by 40 per cent.
"We are required to conduct tree census every ten years," said Hamdan. He said that his department hopes to use the data gathered to improve forest management plan and increase awareness campaign on forest conservation.