A catholic-based organization Mother Earth Network has partnered with Vihiga County in the effort to restore the Maragoli hills forest.
The collaboration will see the organization plant 300, 000 tree seedlings in the forest ecosystem in a bid to rehabilitate it.
Speaking at Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo’s office, the director of the Network Fr. Hermann Borg said the programme will kick-off in September and run for five years.
Borg explained that the campaign aims at promoting environmental conservation so as to mitigate against the adverse effects of climate change.
The Principal Secretary (PS) for State Department of Energy Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Gordon Kihalangwa two weeks ago presided over a tree planting exercise in the area.
Dr Kihalangwa said his department in collaboration with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is going to rehabilitate 150 hectares of the total 369.1 ha area of the forest land this year.
He encouraged the residents to plant indigenous trees species which are environment-friendly and stop planting the eucalyptus which has high water uptake leaving the soil dry.
“The eucalyptus species has a high rate of moisture consumption hence has led to drying up of wetlands and streams thereby impacting negatively on the ecosystem,” he explained.
He noted that about 45 per cent of the electricity produced in the country is water-generated and therefore the need for environmental conservation.
He disclosed that the national forest cover currently stands at 12 per cent against the recommended minimum of 10 per cent saying the performance is so far impressive.
The County Director for natural resources Kevin Musiega said they have planted 70,000 seedlings in the past two years.
He added that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the KFS to restore 20 hectares of the forest and constructed an office block that is being used by the foresters.
By Sammy Mwibanda