KFS plants over 2.5m tree seedlings to increase forest cover

Kenya Forest Service has involved different stakeholders in the drive.

In Summary

• Kenya’s current forest cover is 7.2 per cent. However, the Constitution envisages 10 per cent forest cover in two years.

• Sh48 billion is needed for the exercise to succeed by 2022.

KFS senior officials near tree nurseries.
KFS senior officials near tree nurseries.

Efforts to increase Kenya’s forest cover has gained momentum, with Kenya Forest Service planting about 2.5 million tree seedlings.

KFS chief conservator Julius Kamau said the number was as of May 15 and the planting was done in accordance with the guidelines provided by National Emergency Response Committee on the Coronavirus.

Kenya’s current forest cover is 7.2 per cent. However, the Constitution envisages 10 per cent forest cover in two years.


“We have developed protocols on how to go about it,” Kamau said.

According to the protocols, all nurseries and proposed planting sites are supposed to be equipped with hygiene tool kits prescribed for the management of Covid-19.

“All persons identified for loading of seedlings into vehicles at the tree nursery must disinfect their hands before the activity is implemented,” Kamau said.

Loading and offloading of seedlings have to be done by a maximum of two people who should keep the social distance.

During the planting exercise, sites are parcelled into smaller units, with each unit assigned to one person. Used potting materials for seedlings will be collected by the person doing the planting.

Ecosystem conservators responsible for forest management in the counties are supposed to implement the protocols.

Kamau said that as 0f March 2020, tree nurseries under KFS had about 25 million seedlings. About 9 million were ready for planting.


"The private tree nurseries have approximately 68 million seedlings,” he said.

Of the 68 million seedlings, about 34 million were ready for planting.

To achieve a 10 per cent cover, 1.8 billion seedlings must be planted and protected between now and 2022, a move that requires Sh48 billion.

Already, KFS has involved different stakeholders in the drive. For instance, the service and the Environment ministry have roped in senior government officials to help it increase forest cover amid challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis.

The government officials are being deployed to plant 31,501 trees in 79 acres in Nairobi. The sites have been identified.

Initially, the authorities had plans to roll out mass tree planting in public primary and secondary schools. The plans were, however, suspended after the institutions were closed due to the coronavirus crisis.

The outbreak of the pandemic also forced the authorities to downscale tree planting activities in line with guidelines and recommendations issued by the Ministry of Health.

The tree-planting programme was downscaled and is being implemented in all the 47 counties under the direction of respective county environment committees.

KFS has also been encouraging Kenyans to plant trees in their farms.


(Edited by F'Orieny)

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