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close this bookObstacles to Tree Planting in Arid and Semi-Arid lands: Comparative Case Studies from India and Kenya (UNU, 1982, 63 p.)
close this folder3. Kenya
View the documentLand Tenure and use
View the documentDefinition and distribution of the arid and semi-arid zones
View the documentGovernment policy on arid zone development
View the documentForestry organization and policy
View the documentRural afforestation and extension
View the documentNeeds for forest products and services in the arid zone
View the documentCurrent programmes of afforestation in the arid zone
View the documentOvercoming the major obstacles to tree planting

Current programmes of afforestation in the arid zone


Although some 26 districts are now nominally included in the Government Forest Department's Rural Afforestation and Extension Scheme, only three actually have an extension forester to advise local communities or to provide planting stock. Consequently the achievements to date have been small and confined to the higher rainfall areas of the zone. The department's research section has undertaken trials of species and plantation techniques in marginal lands, notably at Bura, Siaya, and Narok, and extension foresters are encouraged to establish trials in their districts. (In contrast to arid zone afforestation, the idea of fuelwood plantations is not new in Kenya, and some 30,000 ha exist in high rainfall areas.)

The projected expenditure for the Rural Afforestation and Extension Scheme in the five year plan period is KSh 6.4 million (US$17 million) with an additional KSh 560,000 (US$1.5 million) for the afforestation component of the Machakos Integrated Development Project.

In addition a Local Afforestation Programme was planned to include the prevention of soil erosion, protection of water catchment areas, and provision of fuelwood and building poles for the rural populations of the Machakos, Kisii, Turkana, Kisumu, Taita Taveta, Kericho, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, South Nyanza, Baringo, and Samburu districts. Total expenditure in the plan period is KSh 2 million (US$5.4 million).

Silvicultural and genetics staff at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute* (formerly the East African Agricultural and Forestry Research Organization, Muguga) are beginning to become interested in research for arid zone afforestation, and the Department of Forestry in Nairobi University is also initiating a research project on species testing and nursery technique development at Kibweze (Machakos), but there is little on the ground to date.

International and Bilateral Agencies

As part of the Government of Kenya's strategy for development of the ASAL, various districts may be allotted to different assistance agencies. Several have begun operations or are preparing projects, including the World Bank (Baringo), European Economic Community (Machakos), United Kingdom (Isiolo, Embu, and Meru), Germany (Marsabit, Mt. Kulal, and Ngurunit), Norway (Turkana), and United States (Kitui). (See Uvoo 1978.) Most of these include tree planting, and all will face the constraints to tree planting discussed below: their multiplicity in itself acts as a constraint since, for their preparation and operation, they all demand considerable contributions of the same few skilled staff in the Government Forest Department. These same staff are required to prepare and manage routine work, including the second World Bank loan for plantations just finishing and the third project now in preparation. Furthermore, many are "integrated projects" and thus concern several ministries, including Environment and Natural Resources (with its Natural Environment Secretariat), Wildlife Conservation, and Livestock Development (recently separated from Agriculture). This complexity adds to the difficulties of identifying, preparing, appraising, and managing projects.

The International Council for Research in Agroforestry, together with the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Nairobi, has prepared a project to determine whether certain types of agro-forestry might not arrest the degradation, improve food and wood production on a sustained basis, and raise the living standards of the people who occupy marginal and semi arid lands. Field research will be conducted at Kibwezi in the semi arid zone (ICRAF 1979) when a donor has been found.

A small number of species trials were established in the Mt. Kulal area as part of the UNESCO/UNEP Integrated Project on Arid Lands (IPAL: see Lamprey 1978), and these have been handed over to local mission stations for continued maintenance.* The place of trees and shrubs in the prevention of desertification in the northern parts of Kenya was stressed by Lamprey (1978), and his illustration of the interacting factors contributing to desertification is reproduced as figure 9 since, in broad terms, these factors apply to the entire marginal ASAL of Kenya.

Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Although many small local community organizations, schools, Boy Scouts, and others do plant trees, some within the ASAL, particularly when encouraged by Government or national treeplanting days, the numbers of trees planted and their survival and growth are not easily assessed.

The largest identifiable group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with an interest in tree planting are the religious groups, including the National Christian Council of Kenya, the Salvation Army, and the Catholic Relief Service. Through their field missions and stations, which are largely concerned with the settlement and development of rural people, they have established plots of trees from a range of species in a variety of sites from Baringo north to Turkana and Marsabit. (See Paetkau 1980.) In many areas of Kenya, there is a marked correlation between Christianity (and westernization) and tree planting. A neat avenue of Grevillea robusta or a stand of eucalyptus often indicates a Christian homestead.