The aim of the campaign is plant a total of 20 million trees in and around Kenya’s highland forests, dubbed “Water Towers” because of their vital role in conserving the country’s rivers, lakes and drinking water. The initiative will also help combat climate change, protect forest habitats for rare birds and mammals – while improving food security for some of Africa’s most vulnerable people: Around a quarter of the trees cultivated will be planted on surrounding farmland – to provide food and resources, stabilise soils and increase crop yields.
Kenya’s fA member watering grevillea robusta seedlings in the nursery.orest cover became severely depleted during the 1970s and 1980s through illegal activities such as timber harvesting or charcoal burning. Only seven per cent of the country’s land is covered by trees – which equates to 67 trees per person, compared with a global average of 420. Many upland forests have been destroyed or severely degraded.
The campaign forms part of a wider strategy by the Kenyan government to meet reforestation targets under the COP21 Paris Climate Summit and the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals.
It will be led by local community organisations and volunteer smallholder farmers, who will set up tree nurseries, transport and plant the trees. As well restoring primary forest with indigenous trees, the farmers will plant trees on their own land to restore soil fertility, provide shade for other crops, and produce fruits, nuts and medicines.
ITF’s @20milliontrees campaign – for the planting of 20 million trees in Kenya’s forests – is now well underway, following a successful launch ceremony in London and Kenya.