Restoring Indigenous Forest on Mount Kenya’s slopes

Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) works to protect and conserve the forest, water and wildlife around Africa’s second highest mountain – Mount Kenya.  It strives to drive collaborative action for the sustainable management of Mt Kenya’s biodiversity and natural resources through partnership with government, communities and civil society.
Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya

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The Project

The Mount Kenya area is popular with mountaineers, climbers, cavers, kayakers and bikers and a vitally important water source for wildlife and inhabitants alike. However it is threatened around its 450km boundary by issues such as illegal logging, livestock grazing, charcoal production, poaching, honey harvesting, marijuana farming and fires. The area proposed for restoration is Karuri, 3,000 hectares that was illegally cultivated and settled on for many years and is now a bare open grassland area within the National Forest, representing a severe fire hazard. Over the 2 years of the project, 120 hectares of this area will be planted with 120,000 trees. This area will be enclosed within the Mount Kenya Rhino Ark perimeter fence in the next few years ensuring long-term and permanent protection of the restored forest.  The forest will bring welfare benefit giving landless farmers in the forest-adjacent communities the right to cultivate agricultural crops amongst the trees during early stages of forest plantation establishment, in return for them protecting the trees during their early establishment from grazing and elephants.   The project will:
- restore 120 hectares of indigenous forest for people and wildlife by planting 120,000 trees
- provide employment for up to 600 people for 5 years for forest-adjacent communities
- employ women in tree seedling nurseries for 2 years to grow the seedlings for replanting.

Trees ready to plant
Trees ready to plant

The Update

Update December 2017:
The project is progressing well towards the target of planting 120,000 trees over 120 hectares: 90,000 indigenous trees have been planted so far, despite the challenges of drought in early 2017. 12 seedling nurseries run by women were used to provide seedlings for the tree planting.
So far, 200 farmers are involved in cultivating and caring for the seedlings whilst also cultivating crops for their consumption and revenue. The farmers are being managed by the Community Forest Association, Kenya Forest Service and Mount Kenya Trust, and the collaboration is proving very successful.
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If you are an individual who loves the great outdoors and would like to support our projects, please click the donate button below.
We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage