Save Mau and Mount Kenya Forest from Extinction!
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We can't let that happen. We need to stop these massive destruction of Mau Forest and Mount Kenya forest actual situation! A huge petition will force the government to rethink and HELP.
What is Mau Forest and Mount Kenya ?
Mau Forest is a forest complex in the Rift Valley of Kenya. It is the largest indigenous montane forest in East Africa. The Mau Forest complex has an area of 273,300 hectares (675,000 acres). The forest area has some of the highest rainfall rates in Kenya . Mau Forest is the largest water catchment area in Kenya . Numerous rivers originate from the forest, including Ewaso Ng'iro River (southern), Sondu River, Mara River and Njoro River. These rivers feed Lake Victoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Natron . Westerns slopes of the Mau Escarpment are covered by Mau Forest
The country is feeling economic and environmental pinch of the continued degradation of the great ecosystem through activities such as illegal logging, excisions and encroachments. Recently the government cancelled the commissioning of the 60MW Sondu Miriu hydroelectricity project because the water levels in the holding dam had drastically reduced. The rationale was that river Sondu that feeds the dam originates from Mau forest which is currently under threat from human activities.
Destruction The Mau has been a victim of destruction for many years. More than 45 bird species and 2,000 families live here. The latter, including logging and charcoal burning, has put to risk an asset base worth more than $300 million (more than Sh20 billion). The forest has been traditionally inhabited by Ogiek people, whose hunter-gatherer lifestyle is sustainable . However, due to immigration from of other ethnic groups, parts of the forest area have been cleared for settlement. In 2008, the inauguration of the Sondu-Miriu hydro power plant was postponed due to low water levels, that are said to be resulting from the destruction of Mau Forest . The forest is under trust land, managed by the County Council of Narok, one of the richest local authorities in the country. Most of the problems may have begun in 1999 when the local authority allowed group ranches, owned by the locals, to be subdivided and sold to members. “The excisions and the widespread encroachments have led to the destruction of nearly a quarter of the Mau Complex area over the last 15 years... The Mau Complex is not only an asset of national importance that supports key economic sectors in Rift Valley and western Kenya, including energy, tourism, agriculture and water supply, but it is also the single most important water catchment in the Rift Valley and western Kenya.
Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian (5,199 metres (17,057 ft)), Nelion (5,188 metres (17,021 ft)) and Point Lenana (4,985 metres (16,355 ft)). Mount Kenya is located in central Kenya, just south of the equator, around (150 kilometres (93 mi)) north-northeast of the capital Nairobi. Mount Kenya is the source of the name of the Republic of Kenya. Mount Kenya is a stratovolcano created approximately 3 million years after the opening of the East African rift. It was covered by an ice cap for thousands of years. This has resulted in very eroded slopes and numerous valleys radiating from the centre. There are currently 11 small glaciers. The forested slopes are an important source of water for much of Kenya. There are eight vegetation bands from the base to the summit. The lower slopes are covered by different types of forest. Many species are endemic to Mount Kenya such as the lobelias, the senecios and the rock hyrax. An area of 715 square kilometres (276 sq mi) around the centre of the mountain was designated a National Park and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/800. The park receives over 15,000 visitors per year.
• At present, Kenya's forest cover is less than 2% and Mount Kenya Forest constitutes some of the most significant reserves of remaining forestland in the country.
• Mount Kenya has lost about 30% of its forest cover through various illegalactivities such as timber harvesting, shamba systems, charcoal burning and poles collection.
• Deforestation: Mount Kenya has lost about 30% of its forest cover through various illegal activities such as timber harvesting, shamba systems, charcoal burning and poles collection.
• This is threatening wildlife living in the forest.
• Decreases in water volume: Mount Kenya forests act as water catchment areas to many rivers that over the years have seen decreases in water volume due to loss of forest cover.
• This is leading to water conflicts among communities.
• Poverty: Most communities living in the area are poor because of unsustainable methods of farming which have caused massive soil erosion and infertility.
• Food insecurity: Most communities living in the area are suffering from diminishing food crop productivity due to lack of proper knowledge on how to farm sustainably
. Who is
“ Save Mount Kenya Forest from Extinction Group“ ?
During early 1980’s, the government of Kenya introduced plantation growing in Mount Kenya forest. People were allowed to cultivate inside the forest (shamba systems) as they took care of the plantations. Logging activities was also allowed inside the forest and it’s at this point that a lot of tree harvesting took place, massive destruction occurred during that time since most trees were harvested immaturely, charcoal burning was rampant and marijuana drugs were grown in large scale. On the other hand the shamba-system (non-residential cultivation) regulations had also not been effected and large areas of clear-felled plantation remained unplanted.
By the year 1999, the government of Kenya banned all activities taking place inside Mount Kenya forest such; Cultivation, logging, charcoal burning, firewood collection and they were also strict and vigorous on those people growing marijuana. All those areas which were affected never regenerated back and what were left growing were just bushes and scrubs.
By early 2000, the government together with communities living near the forest came up with plans of forming community forest association which incorporated all groups formed and which is near the forest. They were given permission to plant trees in all those areas which were affected. Save Mount Kenya Forest from Extinction group in partnership with other groups is one of those groups involved in tree planting in Mount Kenya forest especially on those areas which were affected and never regenerated back.
The main challenges to these groups are that they don’t get any support from the government and they fund themselves which is a very heavy load to them. They have to prepare seedlings in the nurseries and transplant them to the forest and thus due to lack of facilitation some of these seedlings overgrow in the nurseries.
Save Mount Kenya Forest from Extinction Group in partnership with other groups is working in five areas:
1. Tree planting inside the forest in all areas which were initially deforested and are covered with bushes and scrubs this being reforestation program.
2. Agroforestry technologies with farmers by helping them to plant trees on their farms, especially for fodder leaves, timber, charcoal and nitrogen fixation and also training them on how to go about planting these trees on their small piece of land.
3. Environmental conservation awareness, the main reasons why deforestation occurs is because people lack awareness on conservation of biodiversity and thus invades forest to undertake illegal activities. My group is working on this through trainings and workshops.
4. Planting trees on water catchment areas and waterlines since most of these areas have been exposed leading to massive soil erosions, decrease in water volume levels and thus scarcity of water which will lead to conflicts.
5. Beekeeping activities is seen and taken as income generating activity which will be able to provide income to the group has well as food to the community and medicines.
The problem with most reforestation programs in Africa is that once the trees are grown the people come into the forest to cut them because they still have no incomes, and they need charcoal to cook.
Program aims to
• Educate and empower the community concerning the environment and their rights through seminars and training, which are undertaken every two months.
• Improve healthcare through use of medicinal plants.
• Prevent avoidable deforestation through formation of community forest policing. These activities are aimed at making sure that each and every person participate in tree planting activities, and report any illegal activities taking place inside the forest.
• Restore Mount Kenya Forest through tree planting activities, and improve this important ecosystem, and habitat for birds and animals.
• Raise the incomes of rural Kenyans, especially those most vulnerable members, through activities such as beekeeping, horticultural and income generating activities.
• Provide food security and energy security through use of agro forestry technologies such as live fences, firebreaks, alley cropping, forest gardens and contours to prevent soil erosions.
• Improve access to clean water through protection of water catchment areas, by planting trees along river banks and water sources.
• Wildlife Conservation and multiplication of endangered species by planting more trees in wildlife habitats, this will create breeding places for birds and animals
P.o. Box 62343-00200, Nairobi, Kenya
Global Biodiversity Protection
46 bis. Rue du Général leclerc
78380 BOUGIVAL CEDEX 23
TEl : 00 33 1 74 13 40 57
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