Deforestation in Kenya
One thing that keeps coming up in the press here in Africa, if not in a lot of places worldwide, is the issue of deforestation in Kenya. It’s a huge problem here where many rural people need wood for fuel, and contributes enormously to drought, amongst all the other harmful effects of loss of trees that are commonly known as soil erosion.
Kenya has less than 1.6% forested land, markedly lower than what is considered acceptable at 10%.
Many people talk “tree planting or tree seedling projects”.
What about our idea of teaching schoolkids to collect their own seeds, make seedbeds from local materials, sprout seedlings. Then transplant and care for the trees until they grow?
For tree planting projects, one needs to get seedlings, distribute them, then get people to keep the trees protected from pest/goats/diseases until they mature. These costs a lot of money and requires good organization. It is also much more difficult to get someone to take care for something that is given to them than for someone to plant, grow and nurture something of their own. We were able to do a very successful, small pilot project in Sagalla near Voi. We need funding to make this teaching available to more schools, teachers and communities all over the region.
The cost of teaching a group these skills is minuscule compared to the cost of implementing the planting of trees someone else has grown! And, the benefit to having taught a skill to so many people have a lifelong benefit to that person, their area, and the protection of the planet.
The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.
tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.