Private lands and public institutions key to raising country’s tree cover
The opportunity to raise the country’s tree cover from the current 7.2 to 10 percent by the year 2022 in line with government projections lies in private lands and public institutions, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has said.
KFS Chief Conservator, Julius Kamau, said the forested area in the country constituted 4 percent of the entire land surface in the country and added this is not adequate to achieve the required percentage.
“Raising the remaining percentage to meet the 10 percent threshold means we have to shift our focus to other areas such as private lands and public institutions such as schools and colleges,” Kamau said.
He called for partnerships between all the players in environmental conservation including the county governments as well as other non-state actors.
“KFS cannot deliver on this mandate alone. Partnership is the only way of achieving the 10 percent tree cover in the country,” Kamau said.
He was speaking at Karatina Vocational Training Center while launching a tree planting campaign dubbed “Adopt a Tree Program” in Nyeri during the ongoing short rainfall season.
The campaign which is an initiative by a conservation group called ‘Hearts of Green Organization’ targets to plant 30, 000 tree seedlings in some 23 schools in the county in the coming two weeks.
Nyeri is one of the leading counties with the highest tree cover in the country at 38 percent.
Kamau at the same time urged all Kenyans to take up the responsibility of planting and nurturing trees which he said called for change of attitude and behavior on matters conservation.
“It is the responsibility of all Kenyans to contribute to this wonderful goal of increasing our tree cover by planting and nurturing trees to maturity,” said Kamau.
Hearts of Green Organization Chair, Moses Muya, said the ‘Adopt a Tree Program’ aims at cultivating tree planting and nurturing culture among children.
Muya said the program that has been running in the counties of Kiambu, Nakuru, Laikipia and Nyeri will soon be extended to other counties.
He said they are also in the process of launching model nurseries in all the eight Sub-counties in Nyeri in collaboration with KFS, Water Towers Agency and the area County government.
Muya at the same time announced plans to hold a tree planting marathon in all the schools within the county in June next year where they target to plant one million trees in school compounds.
County Water, Environment and Natural Resources CEC, Fredrick Kinyua, said the government was working on plans of raising the tree cover to 42 percent in a span of four years.
He said some of the plans put in place to achieve this was establishment of a partnership with Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund that will see one million trees planted in the next three years.
Kinyua also reported that the government had established a tree nursery with over 100,000 seedlings that mostly concentrated on promoting fruit trees planting including avocado and macadamia which will also act as a source of income for local residents.
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