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Kenya plans new measures to protect dwindling forest cover

KAJIADO (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Saturday called for urgent and bold actions to restore and protect the country’s diminishing forest cover.

Margaret said it will require the collective resolve and resilience of all Kenyans to recover what has been wiped out through human actions and the devastating effects of climate change.

“This is no longer a waiting game. Our actions require urgent, bold, decisive response from all stakeholders, both private and public to promote behavioral change to address the threats posed by our human actions,” she said at Kibiku forest, Ngong in Kajiado County.

According to the environment ministry, the country’s forest cover currently stands at 6.2 percent and the government has intensified efforts to reach the UN target of 10 percent in the near future.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2013 launched 80 million U.S. dollars commercial tree growing project to help expand forest cover in the country.

The First Lady had joined scores of female members of the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and Ministry of Environment officers in planting thousands of trees to restore the 125ha forest.

Kibiku forest is among five conservation areas adopted by the KDF for restoration. The others are Ngong Hills, Thogoto and Oloolua forests and Mareba Wetlands.

Under the KDF Environmental Soldier Programme (ESP), security officers have so far planted over 23 million trees in various forests across the country including Kamae, Kipipiri, Mount Kenya, Suam, Mount Elgon and Mau Eburu.

This financial year alone, together with its partners, the KDF has planted 1.7 million trees and the ongoing activity targets to plant 3 million seedlings by the end of the current long rains, specifically in Kibiku forest.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko said his ministry had planted another 20 million trees since March and the country hopes to meet the 10 percent, globally accepted tree cover by 2022.

He said there is a direct connection between the environment, livelihoods and security, hence the involvement of the KDF in conservation efforts.


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