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Grow trees to mitigate climate change, KEFRI

Kenyans have been urged to not only plant trees as per the norm, but also learn to grow them just like other crops, in order to help in mitigating climate change.

James Maua from Kenya Forestry Research Institute, has said climate change is real and it was time for humanity to give it the right attention that it deserves.

“Humanity should grow trees rather than just plant them. They need to protect, water and weed the trees just like one tends the agricultural crops, to increase forest cover as they help in absorbing excess greenhouse gases emitted, which are one of the causes of climate change,” said Maua.

He urged people to grow trees not just for the sake of it, but the choice of tree species to plant should serve a certain purpose.

Maua notes that tree species selected must be able to fulfill the objective for planting them for instance, soil and water conservation in catchment areas, improvement of soil fertility, animal fodder, shade and saleable products such as fruits, firewood and charcoal.

He further says that indigenous trees should be grown in degraded forests like the Mau Forest, which will help in water shed management and through that the environment is restored.

Maua says that there has been a gradual increase in temperatures and this poses a huge risk as an increase in one temperature degree leads to loss of many species, meaning loss of biodiversity, if we don’t control the way we treat our environment.

In addition to growing trees, Maua is urging people to grow drought tolerant crops like sorghum, cassava and indigenous vegetables, which are nutritious and easy to grow and help in mitigating climate change.

Daniel Wanjuki, a lead expert in environmental impact assessment and the CEO Ecosave Africa echoed Maua’s sentiments, adding that climate change is a real threat which calls for urgent attention.

Wanjuki notes that drought conditions are getting worse and it requires action from all humanity.

“It is important for people to change how they use resources. In the past, we have adapted an extracting culture, where we cut trees and use them for firewood and charcoal, but the world needs to change now and adopt a new approach. Let us look for ways of protecting the ecosystem by reducing pollution,” said Wanjuki.

The lead expert further urges all the county governments to promote waste water recycling at all levels for the purpose of recovering water that can be used for growing trees to protect the environment.

He adds that water is becoming scarce and the boreholes are running dry, indicating that the underground water reservoirs are depleting and if not recharged, it becomes difficult to sustain boreholes.

The duo was speaking in Kitengela during a four-day training on Climate Change, tree species Environmental conservation organized by Our Lady Queen of Mercy Academy in partnership with National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Ewuaso Nyiro South Development Authority (ENSDA), Nairobi Ecosystem Conservancy, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Ecosave Africa, Kenya Forest Service, BUS RADIO, Kenya Meteorological Department and the Kenya Forest Research Institute.

The Program’s Coordinator Michael Opiyo said that the impact of the training is for the participants to visualize climate change and what can be done to mitigate it.

By Diana Meneto

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