Nyandarua County will utilize private agricultural farms that lie fallow to grow 10 million trees in ten years.
The county also proposes stringent by laws to protect the forest covers against uncontrolled harvesting for more sustainable wood products while cushioning against food insecurity and adverse climate change.
Speaking during the launch of 2021-2030 Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy, Governor Francis Kimemia said the move aimed at increasing the forest landscapes to 201,255 ha, from the current forest landscape of 8348ha.
“Most of the unutilized land is fenced and lying fallow or unfenced and being used for grazing by members of the community.
This land has potential for agroforestry, fruit trees, macadamia nuts and apple farming,” noted Kimemia.In a bid to align conservation policies and regulatory frameworks at the county level with the national strategies, Kimemia said forest and land degradation adversely affected and depleted resources that formed the basis for livelihoods to millions of people worldwide.
“We are liaising with stakeholders to facilitate and implement restoration of priority sites and this will include soil erosion controls, expanding and improving woodlots while establishing community tree nurseries,” the governor said.
“Growth of multipurpose trees and high value tree cops such as fruit trees will help maximizing the value of trees for agricultural landscapes through agroforestry,” he added.
The county forests have suffered wild fires caused by honey harvesters or charcoal producers, riverine degradation caused by poor agricultural practices as well as greenhouse gases that have caused climate change.
A total 9,703 ha of lands across the county have been converted to cropland with Ndaragwa forest having suffered the highest degradation at 3, 800 ha. About 3, 000 have since been reverted to grassland as a result of deforestation.
Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau who graced the launch revealed that Nyandarua was also among leading countries in forest cover and tree cover in the country.
Kamau said a recent geospatial survey carried out by the Kenya Forest Services (KFS) indicated that Nyandarua had an impressive 26.2 percent forest cover and a tree cover of 27.5 percent, an increase realized since 2018.
The strategy has been developed by the County Government with the assistance of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Kenya Forest Service.
By Anne Sabuni