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Kenya will plant 20 million trees

The initiative is part of the government’s strategy aimed at increasing the forest cover, protecting habitats and contributing to curbing climate change.

Deforestation in Kenya – which reached its peak between 1970 and 1990 – represents a serious threat to five highland forests, dubbed “the Water Towers” beacuse of their importance as they’re crossed by the country’s main rivers. Between 2001 and 2014, Kenya lost 8 per cent of its forest cover, an area the size of the US state of Rhode Island.

 

Foreste che costeggiano il Monte Kenya
Aerial view of the forests near Mount Kenya © Frederic Courbet/Corbis

 

The government has launched a strategy aimed to curb this trend, restore Kenya’s highland forests and lands, protect habitats home to a great variety of plant and animal species including endangered birds and mammals, and contribute to combating climate change.

 

A core point of the strategy is the Twenty Million Trees for Kenya’s Forests campaign, which provides planting 20 million trees in the area of Mount Kenya and other forests.

 

Piantumazione di nuovi alberi
The 20 Million Trees for Kenya’s Forests campaign aims to restore forests and improve  food security of local populations

 

The aim is restoring primary forests by planting native trees, as well as improving food security to local populations by planting trees in farms in order to recover lands’ fertility, overshadow crops and produce fruit, nuts and medicines.

 

This project is of vital importance to people in Kenya,” said Paulino Mugendi Damiano, founder of the environmental association Mount Kenya Environmental Conservation (MKEC). “Destruction of forests, combined with climate change, has led to reduced rainfall and increasing soil erosion – and this has caused food scarcities and hardship for people living around the forests”.

 

Monte Kenya
Mount Kenya is Africa’s highest peak, after Kilimanjaro

 

The UK-based organisation International Tree Foundation (ITF) is contributing to the initiative by raising funds through an international campaign aimed at providing local communities with the resource they need to plant 20 million trees. ITF’s Chief Executive Andy Egan said: “This is probably the biggest and most ambitious campaign in our long history – but is as much Kenya’s campaign as our campaign”.

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