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5.1 Million Hectares of forests to be restored

By Michael Muratha
Kenya recognizes the benefits that forests and trees can provide to the country`s landscapes including improved soil fertility, availability of water, green jobs, economic growth, and increased capacity for climate change resilience and mitigation.In line with this,

the Government through the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities has made a commitment to restoring 5.1 million hectares of forests in the country. The move has also been triggered by the ongoing Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) project which informs work on a number of international commitments including the New York Declaration, the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) a Pan-African country led effort to bring 100 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes under restoration by 2030 and the Bonn Challenge.
Kenya`s engagement in the AFR100 will secure and address a number of goals including Kenya`s contribution to global climate change and mitigation adaptation goals, the constitutional mandate of Kenya to maintain at least 10% of national forest cover, Kenya`s vision 2030 of rehabilitating and protecting Kenya`s water towers in order to increase, regulate and maintain high quality water flowing from this catchments and the National Climate Change Response Strategy`s goal of growing 7.6 billion trees and shrubs for ecological restoration and sustainable land management.
The Landscape restoration project which is being coordinated by Kenya Forest Service with technical support from Clinton Climate Initiative, World Resource Centre and the Green Belt Movement has made tremendous achievements since its inception in September 2014. Key amongst them includes the production of maps and associated area statistics as proposed priority restoration areas. These maps will help in identifying opportunities to scale up restoration efforts to reduce erosion, increase livelihood diversification, fodder production, as well as present potential areas for commercial plantations among others.
Kenya being on the third stage of the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) is now looking to adopt a framework tool dubbed restoration diagnostic assessment tool that will help develop a National Restoration strategy. The framework will also help the government synergize restoration information from all the actors including the private sector, civil society, communities and development partners among others. 
Further, the Diagnostic tool will serve as a structured method for identifying key success factors for forest landscape restoration that are already in place, and also the missing ones within the country that have restoration opportunities. When applied prior to the restoration effort, the Diagnostic tool will help Kenya`s decision makers and restoration supporters focus their efforts on the most important factors to get in place before large amounts of human, financial, or political capital are invested.

 

Members of the Landscape Restoration Technical Working group, during the

last meeting at the KFS Headquarters.

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