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February 23, 2019

Kenya's forest cover increases by 5.3 per cent in four years - CS Wakhungu

Natural Resources PS Margaret Mwakima (left), Environment CS Judy Wakhungu and Kenya Forest Research Institute ditector Ben Chikamai after the CS launched regional forum on African Initiative at KEFRI headquarters in Muguga, February 1, 2017. /JULIUS OTIENO
Natural Resources PS Margaret Mwakima (left), Environment CS Judy Wakhungu and Kenya Forest Research Institute ditector Ben Chikamai after the CS launched regional forum on African Initiative at KEFRI headquarters in Muguga, February 1, 2017. /JULIUS OTIENO

The county's forest cover has increased by 5.3 per cent in four years, Environment CS Judy Wakhungu has said.

She attributed this to the rehabilitation of over 400,000 hectares of degraded public land, which is part of the government's strategy to combat desertification.

Wakhungu said only 1.7 per cent of the land was covered by forest in 2013 but this has increased to seven per cent.

The CS said the government has partnered with more than 10 African countries and donors to push the tree cover to 10 per cent by 2020.

Wakhungu said the move is aimed at responding to effects of climate change and other environmental challenges.

More on this: State needs your farm to raise forest cover

The CS said the country has developed climate change strategy and is currently implementing a number of policies to sustain afforestation and re-afforestation.

“We have national climate change adaption plan which we are implementing. We are one of the few countries in the continent with climate change Act,” she said.

Wakhungu said the government has identified and improved tree species that are highly productive and adaptive to dry-land conditions in the country.

"A flagship species for drylands is Melia volkensil and Acacia tortilis , which have received great acceptance by local formers due to their multiple uses and their development," she said.

The CS spoke when she launched a regional forum on African Initiative for combating desertification to strengthen resilience to climate change in the horn of Africa.

The three-day conference is being held at the Kenya Forest Research Institute headquarters in Kiambu.

More than 10 countries including Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda are represented at the event.

She noted that Africa is the most severely affected by the climate change and is extremely vulnerable to climate variability due to its low adaptive capacity.

“This meeting will provide the delegates with a unique chance to discuss opportunities for making countries and  communities within the Horn of Africa more resilience to climate change.

The conference will see the delegates build a forum and share knowledge on the measures their respective countries have taken to build climate change resilience. The delegates will also identify donors and reach out to them to finance resilience projects.

Already Japan, through Japanese International Cooperation Agency has come on board.

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