CONSERVATION

Fund partners with varsity to restore degraded parts of Kakamega Forest

Netfund to mobilise resources from stakeholders to fence off remaining 102 km of the forest

In Summary
  • Between the years 2001 and 2021, the forest lost 2.95 thousands of hectares (Kha) of relative tree cover.
  • At least 80 deforestation alerts affecting an area of approximately 0.985ha are detected in the forest every four weeks.
Prof. Charles Mutai addresses participants during the meeting.
CONSERVATION: Prof. Charles Mutai addresses participants during the meeting.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES
A nature trail inside Kakamega Forest.
CONSERVATION: A nature trail inside Kakamega Forest.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

The National Environment Trust Fund is set to partner with Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in the restoration of degraded sections of the Kakamega Forest.

Between the years 2001 and 2021, the forest lost 2.95 thousands of hectares (Kha) of relative tree cover, which is equivalent to a 100 per cent decrease since 2000 and 0.80 per cent of the global total.

At least 80 deforestation alerts affecting an area of approximately 0.985ha are detected in the forest every four weeks.

On Tuesday, a team from Netfund met for bilateral talks with officials from the university, led by the deputy vice-chancellor, Planning Research and Innovation Charles Mutai, with the project anticipated to begin next month.

While presenting a brief of the partnership dubbed ‘Kakamega Forest Conservation and Fencing Project’, Gloria Makau of Netfund said the initiative is a systematic way to restore degraded areas and appealed for more partners to join their efforts.

She revealed plans by the Netfund to mobilise resources from stakeholders to fence off the remaining 102km of the forest.

Makau said that the Kakamega Forest, Kenya's only tropical rainforest and equally the last remnant of the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest, is under threat due to pressure on forest resources from adjacent communities to supplement their livelihoods.

“This project seeks to enhance the conservation and management of the Kakamega. It will also spur ecotourism development that supports the social economic growth of the region," Makau said. 

She said that Netfund will also organise tree planting activities together with the Community Forest Association within the forest under the initiative.

“The seedlings will be procured from the communities around to support their economic livelihoods. This will create a system that is not dependable to the forest,” she said.

Fencing of the forest remains the most viable management tool to achieve conservation and management objectives of the forest ecosystem.

Speaking during the meeting, Mutai said that the partnership would help stimulate investment and policy initiatives that promote the Green Economy in Kenya. 

He said that the university has diverse expertise, which will aid in the conservation of the forest.

“It’s definitely a noble initiative for MMUST to be a part of, considering the greening initiative is of our interest as an institution. It is our mandate as a university to improve the livelihoods of the community,” the DVC said. 

While concurring with Mutai, Prof Stanley Omuterema of the Environmental Science department said that the collaboration will enable the conservation of endangered medicinal species, which will be done through the establishment of tree nurseries.

The MMUST director of Research and Postgraduate Support Peter Bukhala said that there is a need to conserve the forest to curb the threat of losing the indigenous forest resources and leaving the land susceptible to erosion.

Others from Netfund at the meeting were Benson Kirorei and Daniel Odongo.

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)

A signboard of Kakamega Forest at Kambi ya Mwanza, Kakamega county.
CONSERVATION: A signboard of Kakamega Forest at Kambi ya Mwanza, Kakamega county.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES
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