Embu County is poised to realize the desired 10 per cent tree cover by 2023 if residents sustain the current rate of tree planting.
The Eastern Regional Conservator of Forests, Ms Beatrice Mbula, said the county’s forest cover currently stands at 9.2 per cent which is above the national average of 7.2 per cent.
The conservator said residents need to intensify efforts to plant and ensure survival of seedlings, especially in the lower arid and semi-arid areas of the county which are lagging behind.
She said that it took only 64 trees per acre of land to achieve the desired cover and that these could be planted along the Shamba boundaries.
Ms. Mbula was speaking on Friday at the University of Embu during the launch of this year’s tree planting season. The launch ceremony that is normally held in late March or early April has been delayed due to erratic rainfall this year.
She said the Kenya Forest Service was this year targeting schools and other institutions and urging them to have ten per cent of their land under trees as they also inculcate a culture of tree planting and management in their students.
The Embu County Commissioner (CC), Abdullahi Galgalo Hiddi said to achieve desired forest cover, citizens must keep planting more trees than a growing population needs to cut down for their wood needs.
Hiddi said the country’s forests had borne a lot of pressure from the growing population and said citizens must make a commitment to plant trees to the desired 10 per cent.
The University of Embu Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academics, Research and Extension, Prof. Kiplagat Kotut speaking at the function emphasized the importance of trees in stabilizing the environment, and said the institution is committed to finding solutions to problems that affect the local community.
He added that the school would continue to involve its entire community in issues of environmental management.
By Steve Gatheru