The Department of Forest in Narok County will plant over 7.5 million tree seedlings at the expansive Mau forest during this short rains period in a bid to rehabilitate it.
Speaking to KNA in his office on Tuesday, the Narok Ecosystem Conservator, Mwai Muraguri said they would work with churches and learning institutions to plant and tender the seedlings in various parts of the complex forest.
“We expect residents to volunteer in large numbers to help plant trees and tender them before this rainy season is over. It is better to plant one tree and tender it than to plant hundreds of trees that you don’t take care of,” said Muraguri.
Muraguri challenged residents not to cut indigenous trees that they inherited from their parents as they help in improving on soil fertility.
“When you cut trees, massive soil erosion takes place threatening the fertility of your farm. This forces farmers to spend a lot of money to purchase manure to boost production,” said the environmentalist.
He added the sale of trees could earn farmers a lot of money saying last year, farmers from different parts of the country earned over Sh.10.5 million from the sale of trees.
“There is no crop that adds value to a farmer than trees because they are multipurpose. They can be used for firewood, providing shade and also control soil erosion besides being a source of food and timber among other many benefits. We encourage every farmer to observe the 10 percent forest cover requirement,” he said.
Kenya’s forest cover has increased from 6.9 per cent in 2013 to over 7.24 per cent in 2017, an improvement that has been attributed to the policy frameworks put in place to protect and preserve the ecosystems.
The government is targeting 5.1 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes for restoration by 2030, as a contribution to the African Forest and Landscape Restoration initiative (AFLR).
The moratorium on logging issued several months ago by the Government that has seen success in controlling logging and charcoal burning is still in force.
In July this year, over 300 families were evicted from Nkoben and Kosia part of Maasai Mau forest as the government targeted to restore 23, 000 hectares that had been encroached by illegal settlers.
Maasai Mau forest is the largest water tower in East and Central Africa and it is the source of major rivers such as Mara, Nyangores and Amolo rivers that are crucial for the Serengeti (Tanzania) and Masai Mara Game Reserves.
By Ann Salaton