PROTECTING WETLANDS

Tobiko right to order removal of eucalyptus trees

Eucalyptus50 metres from water, indigenous trees grown closer.

In Summary
  • A single eucalyptus tree can take up 90 litres of water a day in wet conditions near rivers or swamps
  • Tobiko said KFS should use the money earned from cutting eucalyptus to plant indigenous trees around the swamp
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko with Kiptunga community inspect Enapuiyapui Swamp in Kiptunga Forest, Nakuru, during World Wetlands Day on February 2, 2020.
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko with Kiptunga community inspect Enapuiyapui Swamp in Kiptunga Forest, Nakuru, during World Wetlands Day on February 2, 2020.
Image: GILBERT KOECH

Celebrating World Wetlands Day on Sunday, Environment CS Keriako Tobiko ordered that exotic trees, primarily eucalyptus, should be removed from river banks and replaced by indigenous trees (see P11).

Tobiko is right and local authorities should follow his instructions.

Eucalyptus are thirsty trees and suck 20 litres per day out of the ground in dry conditions and 90 litres in wet conditions. A eucalyptus plantation with 1,000 trees can suck a small river dry. Eucalyptus should be planted at least 50 metres away from rivers.

Tobiko was speaking in Nakuru where closely planted eucalyptus are causing Enapuiyapui swamp to dry up. Tobiko ordered KFS to remove the eucalyptus.

Tobiko said that KFS should use the money earned from cutting eucalyptus to plant indigenous trees. Riverine trees like ficus and swamp palm are less aggressive than eucalyptus and stabilise the river banks and water flow.

One note of caution: 5,000 bamboo were planted around the swamp at the event. Bamboo are indigenous but this should not be a monoculture plantation. The KFS should aim to create a biodiverse mixed forest around the swamp with multiple local species.

 

Quote of the Day: “I love the rain. I want the feeling of it on my face.”

Kathleen Mansfield

The first part of her short story The Garden Party appeared in the Saturday Westminster Gazette on February 4, 1922.