The project’s principle aim will be the restoration of 235 acres (95 hectares) of cleared forest in South Nandi, which is part of a forest complex that is home to an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and the endangered Turner’s Eremomela (Eremomela turneri).
The second year commitment to the project comes after the need for a long-term strategy for forest restoration in South Nandi.
“Managing the successful growth to maturity of newly planted trees is a key to the success of forest conservation,” explains Roger Wilson, Senior Conservationist (Special Projects Development) and advisor to Nature Kenya. “If we are to ensure the trees are properly maintained, we must think in terms of a multi-year project. One year of planting implies three to five years of protection, so we have built in moderate levels of targeted, ongoing funding to ensure a positive outcome for the project in the long term.”
The project, which is being implemented on the ground by Nature Kenya, uses a network of ‘site support groups’ (SSGs) made up of local people engaged in practical conservation as model for conservation. In South Nandi, the South Nandi Biodiversity Conservation Group is influential in establishing Community Forest Associations (CFAs), which help develop sustainable nature based enterprises, and raise awareness of the sustainable use of natural resources.
Another part of the project is to establish woodlots outside the forest complex. The woodlots provide local Kenyans living near the forest with fuel and timber, which relieves pressure on the remaining forest. In 2014, 65,000 trees will be planted in village woodlots and 30,000 trees will be provided for school woodlots.
In addition to school woodlot establishment, environmental education with incorporated into the curriculum to enhance the practice, understanding and importance of conservation among children and young people.
Ed Butt – May 2014