East African Wildlife Society calls for planting of more seedlings to boost Kenya’s forest cover
Government and corporates have been challenged to boost initiatives towards increasing the forest cover in the country.
Noting the importance of forest in supporting livelihoods, the East African Wildlife Society (EAWS) said more resources should be channeled towards seedlings production as a commitment to increasing forest cover by 10 per cent as earlier planned.
“I call upon corporates, counties and government agencies to join hands in improving the seedlings production, it will aid the country move faster towards attaining the 10 per cent forest cover,” said Nancy Ogonje, Executive Director, The East African Wild Life Society.
Kenya’s forest cover is estimated at 7.2 per cent of the country’s territory, which is below the recommended global minimum of 10 per cent. Out of this, Kenya’s closed-canopy forests, which are mainly montane woodlands (water towers), cover only two per cent, compared to the African average of 9.3 per cent and a world average of 21.4 per cent.
The country loses approximately 5,000 hectares of forest annually, a loss that can cause an annual reduction of available water.
The country is already listed as a water-scarce country by the United Nations. Forest loss is largely attributed to deforestation, which is defined by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as the conversion of forest to other land uses.
Forest loss does not only contribute to a reduction of biodiversity and loss of rural livelihoods. It also exacerbates the impact of climate change on ecosystems. Worldwide, deforestation is estimated to account for about 20 per cent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
The East African Wild Life Society director on the sidelines of this year’s Forest Challenge competition held at Kereita Forest. The initiative by East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) in partnership with Kijabe
Environment Volunteers (KENVO) and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is designed to raise funds for the restoration of degraded parts of Kenya’s mountain forests, the towers that are key sources of water.
Committed to ensuring that Kenya’s water sources do not dry up, Forest Challenge participants signed up for the exacting, yet fun competition inside the forest where they were required to conquer obstacles before reaching the finishing line.
The industrious nature lovers ran the gauntlet of dark tunnels, slippery descents and ascents, barrow rides and tyre crawl – all in the name of forest conservation. Exhausted
Challengers arrived at the finishing line muddied and with sore, bruised bodies but content that it was all for a good cause.
“I would like to congratulate and thank all participants and sponsors of Forest Challenge 2021 for heeding our call to support our reforestation efforts in the key waters towers,”