Trees play a critical part of our ecosystem; they act as windbreakers, hold soil firmly against erosion, attract rainfall, act as habitats and a source of food to wild animals, create a natural balance through sequestering carbon, trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and enhance the scenic beauty among others.
In a quest to attain the targeted 10% forest cover in Kenya, the countrywide campaign to plant more trees has seen several individuals and groups embark on a journey to plant as many trees as they can in different parts of the country ahead of the World Environment Day 2019.
The major water towers in Kenya are under threat of deforestation. Aberdares and Mau forest complex are among the areas that have been threatened by human settlement, agriculture, and logging. The country’s population is growing, encroachment into such vital sites is not about to end not unless viable strategies are applied.
We need to recall how devastating it is when we go for days without water. How essential is water in our lives? To have a continuous supply of water, then we need to conserve our catchment areas.
It is not enough to tell people to plant trees. We need more strategies that will motivate the citizens to plant trees without looking at it as a burden or a waste of their land.
Agroforestry is one of the sustainable ways that organizations in the agriculture and forestry sector have been advocating for. Planting trees together with fruit trees and other plants has more benefits.
Environmental conservation and more so tree planting is something that should be inculcated into people at a younger age. Environmental education should be a mandatory subject from elementary school to A-levels. Establishing environmental clubs in schools is also the right way of creating an environmentally cautious generation.
More importantly, we need to operationalize the existing policies and regulations governing the utilization of forests-cut one, plant two.
For us to achieve the 10% forest cover, we have to come together with all the might and power.