ITF have recently received a final assessment for the Mount Kenya Forest Tree Planting project and we are pleased to report that the scheme has progressed very well indeed and has provided an excellent platform to build on for the future. The end-of-project report was supplied to us by the Save Mount Kenya Forest From Extinction Group – our in-country partner for this project.
Mount Kenya Forest has experienced a high rate of deforestation; this has meant increased pressure on forest land and decreased food production which in turn has led to local people struggling to make an income. Working closely with local communities ‘Save Mount Kenya Forest From Extinction Group’ sourced tree seeds, established tree nurseries and trained locals in various forestry and conservation techniques to encourage reforestation of the Mount Kenya forest.
The project’s core activities included tree planting on public lands, in water catchment areas, dispensaries and community farms. Since the project started May 2011, 50,000 seedlings were raised planted on various sites by the end of the project. Another key aspect of the project involved training local community members in agroforestry systems and environmental conservation techniques. The majority of the beneficiaries who undertook this training have started applying various techniques on their farms.
Several definite outcomes from this project are expected including an increase in Kenya forest cover from 2% to 5% towards the end of 5 years, availability of fuel wood for household uses, increase in crop yields and soil improvement.
Community members have been very receptive to the project and in general have participated fully by planting trees. The types of trees grown were chosen to meet specific needs. For example, fodder trees were planted which will provide leaves for their livestock in a few years time. Nitrogen fixing trees were also planted to improve their soil fertility.
Through training and awareness sessions, community members have been equipped with knowledge on the application of agroforestry techniques and they are now aware of the importance of conserving biodiversity. Community members are keen to protection of Mount Kenya forest and are now reporting illegal activities taking place inside the forest.
This project has not only helped to replant areas of the Mount Kenya forest but has also crucially provided local populations with a tangible sustainable alternative to removing tree cover from the forests around them. Beneficiaries included 1,000 local farmers and over 3,000 community members living near the forest who were provided with conservation awareness training. Over 5,000 community members living within the forest water catchment area have indirectly benefited from the water catchment services provided by the new tree cover.
Over 1000 pupils from three schoool which received seedlings and planted in their school compound. The head teacher of Muganjuki Primary School, in the Kiangungi said: “My school is going to benefit with sufficient fuel wood , timber and shade for my pupils in the years to come through tree seedlings donated to our school.”
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