Sustainable management of forests serves a variety of environmental and socioeconomic roles at the global, national, and local levels. Forest management and resource use are critical for preventing climate change and contributing to present and future generations’ prosperity and well-being.
Forests also alleviate poverty and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite these tremendous environmental, economic, social, and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate making the world vulnerable to climate change at its impact.
On Monday 21st March, the world marked the International Day of Forests. The day’s sole aim is to create awareness of the importance of forest conservation. The theme for 2022 was Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption. Countries marked the day by engaging in activities such as tree planting, forest sensitizations and other activities involving forests and trees.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Forests are home to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, with over 60,000 tree species. Approximately 1.6 billion people rely on forests for food, housing, energy, medicines, and money. Forests also occupy 30% of the planet’s surface area and provide habitat for millions of species. However, every year, 10 million hectares of forest, nearly the size of Iceland, are lost to the world. This calls for us to take adverse care of forests and shun deforestation.
In Kenya, the day was marked at the Machakos People’s Park. The event saw agriculture and forestry stakeholders come together to showcase and declare their interests in saving the forest cover. During COP 26 in 2021, the Kenyan government committed to becoming a net-zero country on carbon emissions by 2030. The government proposed to achieve this by adding more forest cover. Commemorating forests day is one step forward for the country.
Kenya Climate innovation center (KCIC) is supporting small micro and medium enterprises in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. Stawi seed company in Machakos county, a beneficiary of the KCIC Green Economy Youth Activation Programme (GrEYAP) is fighting food insecurity, poverty and greening the environment.
Stawi seeds produce certified seedlings and supply them to farmers. The enterprise also offers farmers agronomy services, and best field practices. KCIC has helped the enterprise track its finances, adopt new technologies and access markets. This has helped the company to consistently produce seedlings hence reliable for tree production.
Ending deforestation and promoting tree planting is the only real motivator towards achieving a net-zero and sustainable future. It is time for the private and public sectors to join hands and push for initiatives to save the forest cover.