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Kenya steps up efforts to restore forests

By Peter Kahare - 18 Jul 2011 4:48:0 GMT
Kenya steps up efforts to restore forests

Kenya has stepped up effort to conserve heavily depleted forests and boost cover from the current two to ten percent.

The government through the Ministry of forestry has underscored the importance of working together with communities living around forests to conserve and restore forests.

Major forests that have undergone long periods of destruction are Mau Forest, Mt Kenya forest, Elgon Mountain and Nyandarua ranges.

Forestry Minister Noah Wekesa said Thursday that different corporate sectors, Kenya Forests Association and Community Conservation groups would work together to plant more trees to boost forest cover.

Wekesa however encouraged conservationists to plant more indigenous trees like Podo and bamboo species instead of exotic trees like eucalyptus species that are not environmental-friendly.

The government has mounted campaign to cut down all eucalyptus trees species especially those found along river banks.

"It is very important that Kenyans plant indigenous tree species that do not affect the environment negatively, trees like podo and bamboo are preferable to eucalyptus; it is the reason why the government has been leading a campaign to cut down eucalyptus tree" says Wekesa.

The Minister said that the government would work together with communities and provide seeds for them to establish tree nurseries in their farms. The government he added is keen to restore Mau forest that has been invaded by illegal loggers and settlers.

Two years ago the government launched program to restore Mau forest an important source of water by evicting illegal settlers from the forest. African Wildlife Foundation has also joined in the efforts to conserve the Mau Forest by committing up to Shs.200 million.

African Wildlife Foundation President Dr. Hellen Gichohi has stated that the foundation has also laid plans to implement carbon trading through Reduced Emissions from forest Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) with alternative livelihoods to support climate change programming in the area.

Top Image Credit: © Anna Omelchenko