Annals of Applied Biology Vol 36 No 4

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East African Forestry Research Organization
Although in some years Madagascar contributes appreciably, most of the world's clove supply is produced in the two largest islands, Zanzibar and Pemba, of the Protectorate of Zanzibar, which is situated just south of the equator off the east coast of Africa. For more than fifty years, the deaths of clove trees in Zanzibar have been reported, but it is only during the last decade that these are known to have been due to three main causes. One is physiological, due to changing water-table, when all trees in a certain area die simultaneously. The second is known as die-back, where the branches of the tree concerned die progressively over a number of years. Its exact cause is unknown, but it is probably due primarily to bad husbandry and unsuitable conditions. The third, and now far the most important cause is 'sudden-death'. Its cause is uncertain, but it is devastating the plantations of Zanzibar Island, and increasing in Pemba, thereby forming a most serious threat to the clove industry