THE KENYA PROJECT IN BRIEF
Launch date: 2019
Species planted: Syzygium guineense, Prunusa Africana, Podocarpus falcatus, Croton megalocarpus, Vitex keniensis, Grevillea robusta, Acrocarpus fraxinifolius, Markhamia lutea, Calliandra calothyrsus, Avocado and tamarillo trees
Objectives: to accompany the restoration of Mount Kenya National Park; to create garden forests to enable local populations to protect their crops and diversify their sources of income; to raise awareness among the younger generation in local schools.
Associated Partner: Trees For Kenya
The context of the project
More than 300,000 members of various ethnic communities, such as the Kikuyu and Maasai, depend on the Mount Kenya forest for their daily lives, drawing on its resources of fruit, medicinal plants and water. Their crops - both cash and food crops - need rain to grow in good conditions. But droughts have increased in recent years, caused in particular by deforestation in the region, which has changed weather patterns. As a result of population growth, the expansion of crops, and the felling of trees for charcoal production, Kenya now has only 7 percent forest cover, down from 18 percent in the early 1960s. Today, rivers flowing from the destroyed forests of Mount Kenya no longer have enough water to enable communities to irrigate their crops.
It is in this context that Reforest'Action is joining forces with the local NGO Trees For Kenya, which has been working since 2012 with communities in the Mount Kenya region to restore the most degraded areas of its forest. The objective of the project is to help local communities restore their environment in order to secure their food supply and improve their socio-economic status through the creation of additional income from the trees planted.
Our partner and our actions in the field
A partnership between Reforest'Action and the NGO Trees For Kenya
Reforest'Action is associated with the NGO Trees For Kenya, which has been working in the Mount Kenya region since 2012, in partnership with the Kenya Forest Service, responsible for protecting the country's natural forests. The Mount Kenya forest experienced massive deforestation between the 1960s and the 1990s. It is now protected by law, but has never regenerated. The government is encouraging NGOs and local communities to restore it by planting native trees. Since 2012, Trees For Kenya has planted more than 350,000 trees from local nurseries in the Mount Kenya Forest. This partnership with Reforest'Action will enable the NGO to develop its action, to continue to develop agroforestry systems with local producers, but also to raise awareness among the younger generations through the planting of trees in schools.
Local communities at the heart of the project
- Restoration of the forest. The project involves the reforestation of over 400 hectares of degraded forest land through the planting of native tree species. In parallel with the tree planting actions, local people are also involved in the production of seedlings in more than 20 community nurseries, the preparation of the land by removing brush and invasive species, and the protection and monitoring of the planted trees.
- Agroforestry. In the Mount Kenya region, communities grow tea, coffee, maize, beans, cassava, sweet potato and banana. Trees for Kenya trains local producers in the usefulness of including trees as an integral component of their agriculture through the creation of agroforestry systems. More than 500 farmers are involved in planting trees in their cultivated fields. Trees for Kenya provides these trees to farmers during the rainy seasons and trains them in agroforestry.
- Planting in schools. Planting trees in schools helps to raise the awareness of the younger generation to take better care of their environment. The planted trees are managed by the schoolchildren who water and weed twice a year to allow them to grow in optimal conditions. Each student is assigned a certain number of trees for which he or she is responsible until they leave school.
- Awareness raising. In order to prevent future deforestation, Trees for Kenya raises awareness in these communities about the importance of preserving the forests and reporting illegal activities within them.
Tree species planted on the project
A great diversity of species is planted on the project within the different zones:
- Syzygium guineense, Prunusa Africana, Podocarpus falcatus, Croton megalocarpus, Vitex keniensis : these forest and indigenous species, with medicinal and honey-making properties, will help restore the heart of the Mount Kenya forest.
- Grevillea robusta and Acrocarpus fraxinifolius: these agroforestry species will be planted in farmers' fields to create a protective cover for their crops and enrich the soil by fixing nitrogen. They will also provide firewood while preserving the wild forest.
- Markhamia lutea and Calliandra calothyrsus: these shrub species, planted in the fields as quickset hedges, will enrich the soil and create fodder for livestock.
- Avocado and tamarillo trees: these fruit species, planted in agroforestry, will enable the harvesting of fruit, which will be consumed directly by the population or sold on local markets in order to generate additional income.
The benefits of the project
- Protection of water resources: the restoration of the Mount Kenya forest will increase the volume of water in the surrounding rivers, thanks to a better recharge of the underground water tables made possible by the organic activity of the forest soil. The restored forest will again be able to regulate climatic cycles and bring rain back into the region.
- Creation of habitats for biodiversity: the restored forest will welcome over the years an increased wildlife (elephants, monkeys, buffaloes, gazelles...), which has now disappeared from the region.
- Improvement of food security: thanks to the irrigation of crops made possible by the return of rivers and rains, cultivated fields will be more fertile and harvests will improve over the years. Planting trees in the fields will also enrich the soil, provide shade for crops and thus improve people's livelihoods.
- Raising the awareness of local populations to conserve their environment and protect forests through school reforestation programs.