- Forests support all aspects of life, apart from being the most important source of energy.
- They also support key sectors of the economy in the water, agricultural, energy (hydro), manufacturing and tourism sectors, among others.
Efforts to restore Mau Water Tower have received a major boost following an ambitious launch of the Mau Reforestation Project at Dundori forest station in Nakuru county.
Kenya Forest Service through its innovative partnership model called Adopt-A-Forest Framework took part in the launch of the project.
Adopt-A-Forest framework is one of KFS strategic management tools for the attainment of the 10 per cent tree cover by 2022.
Kenya’s forests cover stands at 7.2 per cent but the state wants it increased to 10 per cent by 2022.
To achieve this, some two billion trees will have to be planted and raised between now and then at a cost of Sh48 billion.
KFS Chief Conservator Julius Kamau participated in the launch of the Mau Reforestation Project on Wednesday, where the Green Belt Movement and the French government, through the French Development Agency have adopted a forest block dubbed "French Corner" for rehabilitation and restoration.
“We are calling upon other organisations and agencies to come forward and complement our work,” Kamau said.
The French Development Agency will be providing resources for rehabilitation of the forest that is a critical water tower.
The country has five key water towers; The Mau Forest Complex, Mount Kenya, the Aberdares, the Cherangani Hills and Mt Elgon.
Kamau was joined by the French Ambassador to Kenya and Somalia, Aline Küster-Menager to launch the project whose theme is "Reimagining the Future; Healthy and vibrant planet for all."
The 1.3 million Euros project is a great partnership opportunity for restoration of critical water towers and forest ecosystems targeting areas in Dundori, North Nandi and Tinderet forest which all form part of the expansive Mau Forest Ecosystem.
Those who spoke during the launch noted local communities' through Community Forest Associations would benefit through the project by earning income through planting and tree seedlings maintenance activities.
The Chief Conservator of Forests, while appreciating the project partners, said CFAs will directly earn an income through the project by providing tree seedlings which will be used for the restoration of the identified forest blocks, hence providing an economic cushion to the forest-dependent communities at a time when Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected vulnerable economies.
Today's launch witnessed 10,000 indigenous tree seedlings being planted in collaboration with stakeholders comprising AFD, Kenya Defence Forces, Nakuru and Nandi County governments, National Environment Complaints Committee, and NGAOs among others.
Kamau said over 50 entities have adopted more than 80,000 acres in the last two years.
Cabinet Secretaries have adopted six acres and planted 2,500 seedlings in Ngong Road forest.
The Kenya Defence Forces, through the Environmental Soldier Programme, has adopted 123 acres in Ngong Hills, Kibiku and Ololua forests. It has planted 55,000 seedlings.
Safaricom Foundation has adopted 100 hectares in the South Marmanet Forest and planted 100,000 seedlings.
The Foundation has made a direct donation of Sh12 million. It plans to plant one million seedlings every year for five years.
Many other institutions have also adopted various forests.
The 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.
Some sections of the forest such as Maasai Mau had encroachements.
It covers 114,355.2519 acres (46,278 ha).
The first evictions of squatters happened in July and August 2018 and affected 2,400 settlers in Nkoben and Kass Fm areas.
Some 11,119.725 acres (4,500 ha) were recovered.
A profile of families done in 2010 found out that 716 people had title deeds, while 4,439 had allotment letters and sale agreements.
Some 2,741 had no documents to support their claims to forest land.
-Edited by SKanyara