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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

Needs for forest products and services in the arid zone

The further one progresses into more arid areas the more difficult it becomes to obtain information on the demand and supply of wood products. This is because (a) a large proportion of the population migrates, whether pastoralists or agriculturalists seeking wage labour; (b) wood continues in some areas to be a non-commercial item, freely available except for the labour and time spent gathering it; (c) the needs for wood are few and relatively simple so that wood processing is minimal; (d) an undetermined amount of wood is being exported out of the ASAL and into towns, cities, and other market sites; (e) government recording staff are few, with poor transport and limited resources; and (e) methodologies for measuring wood production and consumption tend to be unclear, and crucial variables such as seasonality, fluctuations in household size, differences in economic position among households, and other important variables are left unconsidered.

In Kenya most of the surveys that have concerned the ASAL dealt with fuelwood, and there have been few estimates of total wood use, As part of the UNESCO-UNEP Integrated Project on Arid Lands (IPAL), Synnott (1979), in an excellent review of tree planting in northern Kenya, made some observations of wood use and reported those of Grum and Hussein Yussuf. Among the nomadic people in the IPAL area (Marsabit, Mt. Kulal, Ngurunit) the main food is uncooked milk, sometimes with fresh blood, so that fuel is not needed for cooking or heating, and the consumption is probably 0.1 m ha -1 year -1. Since living trees and shrubs are widespread, there is no evidence of general fuelwood shortage in northern Kenya except around some settlements (e.g., Kargi). Even house poles are not in short supply because they are conserved carefully during moves and may last up to ten years. The largest use of wood is for the construction of bomas (encirclements to protect domestic animals at night) and Synnott (1979) estimated a demand for 1.5-3.0 m year 1 for each person,

As settlement in the arid zone increases or as we progress into less harsh areas where agricultural production increases, demands for wood also rise. The standard of housing improves, towns and villages become larger, and demands for fuelwood and charcoal increase. Studies of the total energy requirements in Kenya are currently in progress by the Swedish Beijer Institute and by the US Agency for International Development.

In the absence of indigenous coal and oil in Kenya, wood has been the major energy source for cooking and industrial heating. In 1978, estimated consumption of fuelwood was 26 million metric tons annually, but the officially recorded consumption is only 24,000 metric tons. Estimated consumption of charcoal is 310,000 metric tons, while official records show only 15,640 metric tons. For the unrecorded consumption of both fuelwood and charcoal, trees outside Government gazetted forests are felled and not usually replaced (Kamweti 1979). Many estimates of fuelwood consumption have been made for all or part of Kenya, and 12 reports were summarized by Hall (1980) in an appendix to the issue paper on biomass energy for the United Nations conference on new and renewable sources of energy in Nairobi in 1981. In Kenya fuelwood provides cooking and heating energy requirements for 90 per cent of the population at a per capita consumption rate of 1-4 m year -1 (with all but one of the estimates falling in the range 1-2.5 m year -1 ); 80 per cent of the urban population rely predominantly on charcoal (approximately 0.1-0.17 metric tons per person per year). Together, wood and charcoal account for 70-80 per cent of total energy requirements (see also Brokensha and Riley 1978; Maung and Mounier 1979; Mungala 1979; Openshaw 1978, 1980; Openshaw and Morris 1980; Western and Ssemakula 1979.)

A recent fuelwood survey (in preparation for a third World Bank forestry loan) suggested that in the arid zone 1.5 million people consume 1.5 million m of fuelwood and 180,000 metric tons of charcoal for domestic use; these are equivalent to a total of 2.5 million m round wood (Akinga 1980). A further 4.3 million m are believed to be required for commercial, institutional, and industrial purposes within the arid zone. Assuming an annual growth rate for wood of 8 m ha -1 these would require 0.8 million hectares of plantation or their equivalent in hedgerow and farm or village woodlots. This is close to the estimate of 1 million hectares of plantation needed for the whole country by the year 2000 for a population of 34 million made by the World Bank Renewable Energy Task Force study in 1980; this study allowed for 25 per cent substitution by alternative fuels and 15 per cent of the residual needs to be provided by natural forest. Whichever is the more precise estimate, there is no doubt about the very urgent need for tree planting for fuel as opposed to the 300,000 ha of industrial wood plantations.

In addition to the direct production of wood and wood products, trees will play an important part in the restoration of degraded lands and in the protection of land from further desertification through creation of shelterbelts, soil stabilization, and improved soil nutrient supply and water holding. At the same time as trees are being established, however, it will be essential to attack the causes of desertification; these are illustrated in figure 9 (from Lamprey 1978) and considered below under social and economic constraints.