Communities Saving Habitats - 10,000 new trees for Lamu

Published on the 29th of May, 2018

A significant project The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is incredibly proud of is our collaborative partnership with the community-led conservation initiative, The Lamu Conservation Trust. For more than 10 years, beginning with Project Amu, we have worked with the local communities in the Lamu area, empowering them to protect their land and act as guardians to a combined area of more than 400,000 acres.

Through this local partnership, the Trust has been able to save a vast area which encompasses some of the most unique biodiversity on the continent of Africa. Mainland Lamu, sitting across the water from Lamu Island, and all part of Lamu County, is home to forests, endemic species, meandering mangrove fringed creeks flood plains of borasis palms and doum palm forests.

Wildlife remains plentiful in this area with herds of thousands of buffalo, coastal topi, zebra and reticulated giraffe as well as elephants, lions, leopards and cheetahs along with numerous other species. The area has a bit of everything, and thankfully the community has become increasingly aware of just how precious this all is in our fast changing world. Over the past ten years, we have seen a groundswell to save, nurture and protect this priceless heritage despite the changing face of the region, as ambitious development plans are considered for the future.

Together with the Lamu Conservation Trust, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has supported year-on-year conservation efforts enabling the people of this area to become the custodians of their natural asset, which is in this case is unique.One of our many initiatives in the region has been to grow our tree nurseries year on year, despite the considerable challenges, especially in the past year, with water limitations due to drought in Amu. Instead of being defeated, the Lamu Conservation Trust teams took it upon themselves to work harder to ensure that this year they can plant some 10,000 indigenous trees within the ecosystem now that the conditions are favorable thanks to the recent heavy rains.

Over the past couple of years, the Lamu area, incorporating Amu, has bounced between extremes; from drought to floods, and the vegetation and wildlife has certainly now had enough water to really recover from the ravages of a long established drought. Now the flood waters are receding and logistically it has become possible, this is the perfect time to plant out the seedlings that have been so lovingly tendered to throughout the year. The Lamu Conservation Trust teams have been busy planting not only within the protected areas of the region, but throughout villages considering dispensaries, schools and other public spaces encouraging a responsible approach by shepherding in a culture to tend and take personal ownership for the future of this region.

Recognising that we often have a bigger impact on the ground when working in collaboration, The Trust has been very active for many years cultivating partnerships with communities to ensure that environmentally important and viable areas throughout Kenya are protected. Through the help of our supporters, we achieve this by financially empowering communities to become impassioned custodians of their own land, nurturing an appreciation for their remarkable natural assets and to not take them for granted, in case they should be lost forever.