All about trees
MITI NI MALI
The most urgent need today for Kenya is to plant 100 million trees per year every year in perpetuity. The most threatened resources are forests because 80 per cent of of the population uses fuel wood/ charcoal as their first choice source of energy thus depleting Kenya's water towers. With a population of over 40 million people and an estimated annual growth of one million people Kenya will need 100 million trees per year. Therefore; to meet the required 10 per cent forest cover and to sustain the above mentioned demand for trees, Kenya will need to plant to plant over 7 billion trees thus the TotalEnergies ECOchallenge program.
The Miti ni Mali motto means "trees are a source of wealth". We need 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 essential for:
- Purifying and enriching the very air we breathe,
- Regulating the atmosphere and climate,
- Preventing droughts and floods,
- Preserving the soil,
- Creating the habitat on which myriad fauna and flora - and Mankind - absolutely depend,
- Providing food, shelter, medicine, raw materials, and are an abundant source of fuel.
This planet would become increasingly inhospitable if trees numbers dwindled as lack of trees severely damages and degrades the environment both directly by the removal of trees and indirectly by the impact of this on erratic weather patterns, downstream flooding, soil erosion, loss of habitat, etc.
With an annual population increase of one million people and rapid deforestation that has rendered Kenya forest ladn to stand at under 3 per cent. Action needs to be taken to preserve and grow our forest cover. The only solution here is to grow trees faster than we consume them; to plant more than we cut. To meet current and projected demand, and to restore forest cover to healthy levels, we need to plant 100 million trees per year - every year.
The act of growing trees needs to include two very different types of plantations:
- Those comprising exotics (Grevillea, Eucalyptus) and,
- The restoration of indigenous woodlands and forests for ecological function and biodiversity.
Exotic plantations are vital for the economy but not so good for the environment, reducing water tables in many areas and greatly reducing biodiversity.
Indigenous woodlands are vital in the water towers (The Mau, Mt. Kenya, the Aberdares and elsewhere) as they generate and control river flow. Cut down the Mau and you get downstream flooding when it rains or rivers drying up in the dry season. Plantations are for sustainable logging; indigenous forests (as reserves) are for perpetuity.
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