15 billion Trees Initiative dubbed ‘Mission 15B#JazaMiti’ Launched

President William Ruto today launched the tree planting initiative ‘Mission 15B#JazaMiti’ aimed at increasing Kenya’s tree cover by planting 15 billion trees. In an effort to combat the impacts of climate change that has coincided with his birthday hence the planting of 56 trees at Ngong.

Emphasis on the tree planting initiative is key considering that Kenya’s economy heavily depends on natural ecosystems such as forests, rangelands, wetlands, and agroecosystems, which provide services and livelihoods to the communities.

 Reports from the National Forest Resources Assessment 2021 indicate that Kenya has 17,742,168.02 acres of tree cover, representing 12.13 percent of the total area. Thereby up to 37 counties out of the 47 (79 percent) have a tree cover percentage greater than the constitutional set target of 10 percent tree cover.

The results reveal that the country has a tree cover per capita index of 1,507.48m2 per person, indicating that the country has 12,914,201.16 acres of national forest cover, which represents 8.83 percent of the total area.

The 15 billion trees initiative seeks to restore 10.6 million hectares of the degraded landscape for improved biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is in an effort to combat Climate-induced deforestation and rangeland degradation remain major drivers of biodiversity-related complexities that call for concerted efforts.

Kenya Forest has been on the frontline in addressing this gap having responded to the action of planting more trees as they aim at improving the forest curve margin from the previous 7.2 percent to the 10% goal of 2022.

The improvement has been lauded compared to Kenya’s forest cover which was 6.99 percent in 2010, according to a comprehensive National Forest Resources Assessment and Mapping report by the service.

Forest plantations both in public and private forests cover 461,384.5718 acres making 4.5 percent of the total forest cover.

The state however wants the national tree cover enhanced to 30 percent by 2032, a move that will see 15 billion trees planted. In order for this to be achieved, some Sh500 billion is needed.

Since the move seeks to restore 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscape for improved biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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