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