COMMONWEALTH PROJECT

Mau Forest complex to join Queen's Canopy

Prince Charles was to jet in to discuss conservation, visit postponed by Covid-19.

In Summary

• The complex is the largest closed-canopy forest ecosystem in Kenya and one of the five major water towers covering 1.12 million acres.

 

A man carries seedlings for planting at the Kaptunga station of the Mau Forest complex.
MAU DEGRADED: A man carries seedlings for planting at the Kaptunga station of the Mau Forest complex.
Image: FILE

The Mau Forest complex will soon get the world's attention when it is adopted as part of the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy project.

Environment PS Chris Kiptoo on Friday last week said Prince Charles was to visit Kenya to discuss the Mau Water Tower and forest conservation. The meeting was postponed by Covid-19 restrictions.

"The British expressed interest in having part of Mau as the Queen's Canopy. Prince Charles was to come this week but  deferred until further notice," Kiptoo said.

He said discussion would cover details of collaboration and the area covered.

The project was launched in 2015 during the 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta. This was after an appeal was made to all 53 Commonwealth nations to contribute areas of indigenous forest to be preserved in perpetuity to mark Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

The government in January last year announced the British government was keen to support restoration activities within the water tower, a focus of 54 member states.

Countries with limited forest cover will also have the opportunity to participate through the planting of native trees, the conservation of other indigenous vegetation, or by supporting project partnerships with fellow Commonwealth members.

Mau Forest complex is the most important water tower in the country, supporting millions of livelihoods nationally, regionally and internationally.

The complex is the largest closed-canopy forest ecosystem in Kenya and one of the five major water towers covering an area of 1,12 million acres.

The water tower is a major catchment for 12 major rivers that feed Lakes Turkana, Baringo, Nakuru, Natron and Victoria.

The Mau Forest complex stretchesacross five counties – Narok, Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu.

The Maasai Mau Forest is currently the most threatened block, particularly by human pressure and destruction.

Encroachment, commercial charcoal burning and illegal logging are some of the major threats.

(Edited by V. Graham)