The ecological health of the Mau Forest Complex in Kenya’s Rift Valley region is in imminent danger. Deforestation and industrial encroachment have destroyed large tracts of this important ecosystem, while years of indiscriminate forest clearing and settlement have taken their toll. This 40,000-hectare forest is East Africa’s largest closed-canopy forest ecosystem and serves the important purpose of storing rainwater during wet months and releasing it during dry periods. The Mau Forest also forms the upper catchment of more than a dozen rivers. As a result, the health of this particular region is important to all of Kenya.
African Wildlife Foundation kicked off a multiyear project to reforest the Mau with the planting of 25,000 seedlings in early 2011, in partnership with Kenya Forest Service and other stakeholders.
AWF is also pursuing corporate partnerships to aid in reforestation, such as its partnership with Tricorona, a Swedish company focused on carbon-emission-reduction projects. Through this partnership, Tricorona clients will be able to purchase a tree that will then be planted in the Mau and cared for by AWF and local communities. The partnership has thus far resulted in the purchase of 857 trees.
As of early 2013, AWF has planted more than 530,000 indigenous trees and weeded around 18,115 seedlings in the Mau—establishing the roots of a successful reforestation effort.
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