Kenya Forest Service Urged Kenyans To Plant Indigenous Trees Along Riparian Land

A local environmental advocacy group, in conjunction with the Kenya Forest Service, is urging residents of Nandi to plant native trees along riverbanks to bolster environmental preservation efforts.

Known as Kiptapkei, this Community Based Organisation (CBO) aims to revive indigenous forests, crucial habitats for wildlife, to prevent species loss and address climate change concerns.

During the observance of the International Day of Forests in Nandi County, Philemon Bureti, the County’s executive committee member overseeing various domains including environment and natural resources, highlighted the manifold benefits of trees. These include air purification, water filtration, medicinal resources, soil preservation, and aesthetic enhancement.

Bureti urged those with eucalyptus trees along riverbanks to replace them with indigenous varieties, cautioning that the County government would soon intervene to make space for environmentally suitable trees.

He lauded the efforts of Kiptapkei and the Kenya Forest Service for organizing the International Forest Day event in Nandi County, which served as a platform to educate locals about the significance of indigenous trees and environmental conservation practices.

“I urge everyone to become champions of environmental conservation. Kiptapkei Community Organisation and the Kenya Forest Service deserve recognition for their leadership,” Bureti emphasized.

Joel Malakwen, the patron of Kiptapkei and CBO founder, reiterated their mission to conserve and restore riparian and wetland areas, which directly improves the livelihoods of nearby communities. He stressed the importance of collective action in environmental conservation, emphasizing the long-term benefits it brings to ecosystem health and resilience.

Malakwen highlighted Kiptapkei’s comprehensive approach, which not only involves tree planting but also ensures proper nurturing to maturity. He emphasized the futility of merely planting trees without ensuring their survival.

“We are committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability. We propagate tree seedlings and meticulously care for them until they are established in their designated areas,” Malakwen explained.

He shared their recent achievements, including the planting of 5,400 trees on the day and a total of 70,000 trees over three months. Their ambitious goal is to plant 30 million trees within the next five years.

Dennis Kerengo, the Nandi County Forest conservator, acknowledged the region’s low tree cover and emphasized the need for widespread tree planting on private lands to achieve the desired 30% tree cover. He stressed the importance of indigenous trees, especially along riverbanks, in compliance with Kenya’s environmental regulations due to their conservation benefits.

“As our population grows, we must innovate and employ technologies that promote environmental conservation, vital for our well-being,” Kerengo remarked.

He advised residents and environmental groups to include fruit trees in their planting initiatives to ensure wildlife access to food, thereby mitigating human-wildlife conflicts.