Kenya, a country renowned for its vast wildlife reserves and biodiversity, is experiencing a rapid loss of its natural resources. The decline in the country's forest cover has been a significant concern over the years, with experts warning that it could lead to adverse environmental effects. In a bid to curb the loss of trees, Moses Muya, the chairman of Hearts of Green, has called on citizens to plant trees, especially during this rainy season.
According to recent statistics, Kenya's forest cover stands at a meagre 7.2 per cent, which is well below the global average of 31 per cent. However, Moses Muya and his organization, Hearts of Green, have been working tirelessly to increase the country's forest cover. Over the past four years, Hearts of Green, in collaboration with other stakeholders, has been able to move the tree cover from 8 to 12 per cent. This achievement means that more than 17 million tree seedlings have been nurtured to survive.
Moses Muya notes that their new goal is to achieve a tree cover of 30 per cent by 2032. Achieving this target will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including the government, private sector, and citizens. Muya emphasizes that planting trees is a critical step towards mitigating climate change, enhancing the environment, and promoting sustainable development.
One of the unique aspects of Hearts of Green's tree-planting exercise is the "Adopt a Tree" program. The program involves giving school-going children two fruit seedlings, one to plant at home and the other in school. This initiative aims to encourage students to nurture the seedlings to survive, increase food security, and generate income. Moreover, the program instils good morals in the students, as there is usually a prize for the best-performing student in environmental conservation.
The tree-planting exercise has been ongoing in nine counties, and Hearts of Green is planning to replicate it in all other counties soon. Muya notes that they have received overwhelming support from various stakeholders, including the government and private sector. For instance, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has pledged to plant 1.8 billion trees by 2024. The government has also provided incentives such as tax waivers for individuals and companies that engage in afforestation.
Hearts of Green is urging citizens to take advantage of the ongoing rainy season to plant trees. Speaking with RB reporter, Muya notes that planting trees during this period is ideal as the soil is moist, which enhances seed germination and growth. Moreover, the trees will have ample time to establish themselves before the onset of the dry season.
Kenya's environment and biodiversity is facing significant threats, including deforestation and climate change. Hearts of Green, under the leadership of Moses Muya, is playing a critical role in reversing this trend. Their tree-planting exercise has been successful in increasing the country's tree cover, and they have set an ambitious target of achieving 30 per cent by 2032. The government and private sector have also pledged their support for the initiative, hence stamping the importance of environmental conservation to the country's development.
Story compiled by Nyokabi Wanjiku