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Call for joint efforts to plant trees & mitigate climate change

As the country initiates interventions to mitigate the impact of Climate Change that cut across the globe, Uasin Gishu County Forest Conservator, Joseph King’ori, has called for concerted efforts from stakeholders to plant trees to help restore, conserve and protect the diminishing forests and wetlands in the County.

He was speaking during The World Wetlands Day Celebrations at the University of Eldoret.

Mr. King’ori pointed out that the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), is committed to support the Presidential call of planting trees to mitigate the impacts of Climate Change.

King’ori complained that the forest cover in Uasin Gishu had regressed with almost 6.7 percent of its land being occupied with forests.

He said the KFS is doing everything possible by sensitizing the communities to start their own tree nurseries, inviting different NGOs, institutions   such as schools and other partners, to join in the tree planting activity targeting to plant 9 million trees, when the rain season begins.

“As a county now we are prepared, we have around 9 million seedlings which are ready for planting when we get the rains. From the KFS we have around 1 million seedlings and from the project nurseries, we have 8 million seedlings, every farmer will get enough seedlings to plant, we have to mobilize all stakeholders to be prepared for tree planting, when the rains begin,” said King’ori.

“I know tree planting is an activity that requires to be funded, we are encouraging every department of the government, to set aside some funds for this activity,” he added.

Noting that every Kenyan of good will is called upon to take part in the tree planting campaign launched by the President from 21st of December last year, the Conservator urged all stakeholders to participate in all areas, particularly from the National Government up to the local community level, to plant trees on their farms at the on-set of the rains.

“We were given a target of 5 billion trees in the first 5 years and then 10 billion trees in the next 5 years, we need to prepare and budget for it, we start our own nurseries, so that when it rains, we take part in planting, let us not look only to KFS, we all have the responsibility,” King’ori said.

King’ori mentioned that a total 447.8 hectares of forested land in the County is under wetlands, including Timboroa, Segero, Kapseret and other forests.

He further pointed out that wetlands have faced extinction from overgrazing by livestock, invasion by water hyacinth, contamination through deposition of chemical waste by farming villages, encroachment by farmers, population increase, forest fires, demand for land by investors, infrastructure development and illegal cultivation and logging.

“Forests and wetlands are key components of the ecosystem, they are interdependent, they capture and store water, prevent soil erosion and air pollution, they serve as a natural water purification system and prevent desertification,” he explained.

The County Forest Conservator noted that forests and wetlands play a significant role in the ecosystem by supporting biodiversity and providing valuable ecosystem services, as he called upon the communities owning wetlands to conserve them through fencing, cleaning- up, restoring natural vegetation and restricting access by people and animals.

By Sylvester Ekuwam

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