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September 26, 2018

State uses aerial seeding to regenerate Mau Forest

A tractor loads tree seedlings on an aircraft yesterday/KIPLANG’AT KIRUI
A tractor loads tree seedlings on an aircraft yesterday/KIPLANG’AT KIRUI

A light aircraft was yesterday used to plant seedlings at the Mau Forest yesterday.

The aircraft dropped millions of seedlings in the degraded areas. The technology has been used in US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Brazil. Aerial seeding is a technique of sowing seeds by spraying them through aeroplanes or drones.

Read: The politics of the Mau Forest

The reforestation exercise launch was supervised by Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina and Kenya Forestry Research Institute  acting director Jane Njuguna.  “It has been my dream to use aerial seeding in replanting trees in Mau. This is a breathtaking audacious project and today we planted more than 10 million trees,” Kina said.

He added that the effort will span deforested land and hopefully revive areas lost to deforestation due to human activities. “This is the beginning of a massive effort to restore the degraded Mau forest. We are praying for heavy rains so that the seeds can germinate,” the senator said.

“We received assistance from friends and organisations to buy seedlings worth Sh2 milllion.”

He said he has mobilised politicians and residents, who will from next week continue planting trees in areas where the plane did not reach. Kina urged Kenyans to support the reforestation programme, saying the Mau Forest is an ecosystem that supports many lives.

The mass planting is part of a project sponsored by Narok county under the Senate, Kenya Forest Service and Kefri. Other organisations are Seedback and Transmara Sugar Company. Njuguna said the aim of the programme is to regenerate the Mau ecosystem and improve forest cover. “Mau Forest is bare.It is heartbreaking to see most of the  streams are plain and have become narrow with reduced water levels.”

More: Why we must restore Kenya's most important forest

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