SEEDLING DONATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Since Kenya gained independence in 1963, the country has prioritized the protection of its land alongside the development of its people. The focus on environmental conservation in Kenya benefits agriculture, alleviates poverty and promotes sustainable development.
Kenya is rich in biodiversity, containing deserts, savannahs’, wetlands, coral reefs and over 1 million hectares of closed canopy indigenous forests. Historically, Kenya has been active in international climate conventions. In 2010, with the adoption of a new constitution, the Kenyan government made environmental conservation a civil obligation. The 2010 constitution takes an ecological perspective to sustainable development, advocating for conservation and addressing the climate change impacts in the interest of both earth and humanity.
The 2010 constitution demands that our country maintain at least 10% forest cover in order to create sustainability and conservation of the natural resources, and with this there shall be increased resilience to the impacts of climate change. In 2017 the Kenya Forest Service reported a standing of 7.0% forest cover away from the recommended 10%. As a result of this gap and with intention of increasing the forest cover, reducing impacts of climate change, conserving natural resources, and creating sustainable development, the government has put in place measures and embraced partnerships with other development partners in ensuring output oriented actions.
Green Africa Foundation and Cooper K. Brand Ltd. through Eco-care, in 2012 entered into a five years’ partnership with the main objective of promoting the planting and supply of indigenous trees in Kenya. This has been successfully run between the two organizations focused at contributing towards attaining the 10% forest cover requirement. Green Africa Foundation and Coopers K. Brand Ltd. Designed a common criteria of seedling development, distribution and monitoring to ensure there is growth after planting.
The certified seeds are prepared into nurseries and seedlings distributed to evaluated groups and institutions that undertake planting during the Community Social Responsibility activities. This is done seasonally with two seasons targeted a year; the April – June long rainy season and September – November short rains. The attentions given to the seasons and evaluation of the groups supplied with seedlings has seen the success of project where 200,000 seedlings are distributed to groups freely every season. The distribution has targeted majorly the protected areas, e.g; gazetted forests, game parks/reserves, water towers, institutions among other areas of focus.
The planting processes are accompanied by series of sensitization forums among the communities on tree growing and management, environmental conservation among other best practice. The procedure of applying for the seedlings by groups and institutions is outlined at the Green Africa Foundation website.