Planting for the future

Published on the 5th of November, 2019

Forests feed all forms of life — and the loss of trees has a devastating effect on habitats, wildlife, communities, and the global climate. Trees are what make our planet a home, but human activities are destroying them on a massive scale. Every year, deforestation wipes out an area of forest about the size of the United Kingdom.

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Here in Kenya, we’re working to change that. Our ambitious reforestation programs, in partnership with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Wildlife Programs, are bringing ravaged habitats back to life. We have three tree nurseries located in key ecosystems: the verdant Chyulu Hills and Kibwezi Forest, the arid plains of Tsavo, and the tropical coastlines of Amu Ranch and Lamu. We nurture tens of thousands of saplings and then transplant them to degraded or deforested areas.

When trees flourish, so do people, other plants, and wildlife. When they don’t, rivers dry up, temperatures soar, soil erodes, and as a result, all organisms suffer. We work closely with local communities, sharing why these reforestation efforts are so important and how the presence (or lack) of trees impact all aspects of life. As a result, we’ve had enthusiastic buy-in from communities and local volunteers come out in full force for tree plantings.

Conditions must be favorable for these saplings to thrive, so we time our plantings around the rainy season. This past week, our team based in the Kibwezi Forest took advantage of the wet weather and coordinated another tree planting. Many members of the local community came together, along with the KFS and KWS, to help us with our ambitious initiative - we planted 2,000 trees during this session, with a total of 40,000 planned in the many sessions to follow this rainy season. They join the 25,000 planted by the SWT Kibwezi Forest team and volunteers during the April-May rains, which puts us well on our target to plant 70,000 trees in the Kibwezi Forest, Chyulu Hills, and surrounding community lands by year-end. Our teams in Tsavo and Amu are on track with their similarly ambitious planting goals. Our hope is that these thousands of saplings will take root, grow tall, and help all forms of life flourish around them.

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