Closer to Eden? Kenya Pledges to Plant 7.6 Billion Trees

Posted on 26 August 2009. Filed under: Environment |

Kenyan communities will undertake to plant 7.6 billion trees over the next 20 years to address massive losses in forest cover. Kenya’s Minister for the Environment, John Michuki, has demanded bold steps amidst economic, social and political unrest caused by forest destruction. According to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, less than 2% of Kenya is currently forested, far less than the minimum 10% required cover for healthy ecosystems. The Mau Forest, Kenya’s biggest, has lost a quarter of its 400,000 hectares. The effects of this are being felt by surrounding farms that rely on a better micro-climate created by the forest, by the energy sector and by Kenya’s famous national parks.

The Kenya Atlas, produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the Kenyan Government, showcases Kenya’s disappearing forests, shrinking lakes and changing landscapes by juxtaposing modern satellite images to those taken in 1970. It makes shocking changes visible to the eye. Mr. Michuki says it provides a welcome alternative to long reports and will influence the way that Kenyans understand their changing environment.

Jennifer Hanan came to Kenya this August to witness the great wildebeest migration across the Maasai, Mara. Like many who have visited recently, she reported a wilting environment. “The Mara River is nothing more than a stream in some parts and we passed hippos that were stuck in mud pools that used to have water in them.” Lodge owners from another major Kenyan park, Tsavo, report dying hippos there too. Prolonged drought is affecting much of the country.

The capital city, Nairobi, has recently been plagued with regular electricity and water rationing; a situation which UNEP says could be curtailed by increased forest cover. Part of the solution is to revive Kenya’s five “Water Towers,” the name given to five water catchment areas that source Kenya’s major rivers. It is a situation that Kenyans are not taking lightly. There are growing signs of citizen and state activism.

The 7.6 billion call to action by Kenya’s Environment Minister coincides with a widely advertised SMS campaign whereby citizens can send a message at a charge of ten Kenyan shillings or 13 US cents to have a tree planted in the Mau Forest. Recently, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai roused the hearts and imaginations of Kenyans by highlighting the importance of preserving and protecting a list of Kenya’s vital wetlands, forests and parks. UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign records 162 million trees planted in Kenya in the last two years from a range of civil society, business, youth, religious, women and non-government organisations. Environmental grassroots activism in Kenya is on the rise.

The Kenyan Government has taken steps to sensitize young people in schools about the importance of trees and the state of Kenya’s rapidly changing environment. Raising public awareness through the educational system will have multiple benefits. It assures that if the problem can be managed today, these forests will be protected by future generations as well.

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8 Responses to “Closer to Eden? Kenya Pledges to Plant 7.6 Billion Trees”

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[…] Closer to Eden? Kenya Pledges to Plant 7.6 Billion Trees « Kenya … Tags: currently-forested, forest, Healthy, minimum, ministry, required-cover, wildlife […]

It is great to see a country like Kenya showing eagerness to take positive steps towards planting more trees.

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the issue is not tree planting. kenyans plant alot of trees from the days of cut one plant two. most NGOs also do alot of planting. the critical factor is ensuring the planted trees five years. most are forgoten immedeately after planting and die before a year

I HAVE AN ORGANIZATION WHICH AIMS AT PLANTING MILLIONS OF TREES ON KILUNGU HILLS STARTING NEXT YEAR.THROUGH PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN AND THE APPROXIMATE BUDGET PER YEAR IS 3.5 KSH.HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT OF KENYA AND OTHER DO NORS HELP

I SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE INITIATIVE

HEY,Iam a tree farmer based in nyeri with 50,000 seedlings of indigenous trees ready to be planted this season( january}. i have already indentified a planting ground ie. at Naromoru IDP settlement camp . I need a sponsor to help me plant these trees before the rains go down. you can sponsor this event at Ksh.20 per seedling
Please kindly assist.contact me at :
kiangurespringsenvipro@gmail.com

I and my friend want to plant indegenous trees at shimba hills game reserve and cover the grassland area,please give us support.


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    A blog created to cover environmental and political information in Kenya with a view to promoting POVERTY ALLEVIATION through creating awareness of the Millennium Development Goals

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