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All About Trees

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All About Trees

Today, the most urgent need for Kenya is to plant 100 million trees per year every year in perpetuity. This is because forests are the most threatened resources in the country thanks to society evolution pressures on them caused by civilization and population growth. 80 per cent of the Kenyan population uses fuel wood as the first choice source of energy or material for construction. This huge demand on wood fuel has led to massive deforestation and depletion of Kenya's water towers through massive deforestation. Also, the need for settlement land for the growing population is causing unprecedented pressure on forest lands. Currently, Kenya has a population of over 40 million people and it is estimated the annual population growth is one million people. This means that Kenya needs over 8Billion trees to be panted so as to attain a state of healthy balance between society needs and environmental existence. To reach this goal, we need to plant over 100 million trees per year for the next 50 years. We are also required to make sure that the minimum forest cover is 10 percent of Kenya’s total land mass.

 

The good news is that initiatives like the Total ECOchallenge program will deliver these tree numbers to us. With the motto Miti ni Mali (trees are a source of wealth) TOTAL strives to protect and nourish this source of wealth by planting more and more trees and make the world a better and wealthier place.

 

Trees are important because, they:

  • Purify and enrich the very air we breathe,
  • Regulate the atmosphere and climate,
  • Prevent droughts and floods,
  • Preserve the soil,
  • Create a habitat in which myriad fauna and flora - and Mankind - absolutely depend,
  • Provide food, shelter, medicine, raw materials, and are an abundant source of fuel. 

 

It is this importance to life that we need to protect and preserve. Growing trees needs to include two very different types of plantations:

  • Those comprising exotics (Grevillea, Eucalyptus) and,
  • Indigenous woodlands and forests for ecological function and biodiversity

 

To note, exotic plantations are vital for the economy but not so good for the environment. They reduce water tables in many areas hence greatly affect the biodiversity negatively. On the other hand, indigenous woodlands are vital especially in the water towers (The Mau, Mt. Kenya, the Aberdares and elsewhere) as they generate and control river flow. Time has proven that depletion of these water towers has caused adverse effects like drying of rivers and flooding during rainy seasons. This depletion is what we need to put an end to as soon as possible. The end can only be delivered by planting trees.

 

The Good News

The good news is that restoring the balance is possible, and if this planting is achieved and sustained it will not only avert disaster and secure a healthy environment, but also bring massive social and economic benefits through the profitable and sustainable use of trees in all their abundant ways.

 

Such a target requires the commitment and active participation of every person, every community, every company, and every institution in Kenya. Everyone should be made aware of the need and the urgency; and everyone should be given the knowledge and skills of tree growing and use