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The Government of Kenya has put in place various strategic initiatives aimed at addressing forest land degradation in Kenya.
In his presentation on Economic Analysis of Forest Landscape Restoration Options in Kenya, during a scientific colloquium held at KEFRI auditorium on 17th November 2019, Mr. Jonah Kiprop reported that the government had put in place various initiatives such as; commitment to restore and re-afforestate 5.1 million hectares by 2030 under the Bonn challenge and strategy to increase forest tree cover to by 10 % by 2022. According to him it is estimated that 1 billion to over 6 billion ha of global landscapes are degraded through conversions to alternative land uses impacting negatively on productivity and diminishing the flow of products and services for human well-being.
The Bonn challenge is practical method of realizing many existing international commitments including the CBD, Aichi Target 15, the UNFCCC REDD+ goal, and the Rio+20 land degradation. ‘’Many countries through Bonn Challenge have pledged their commitment to restore land degradation as well as ecological integrity and improve human well-being through restoration of multifunctional landscapes. The challenge pledged to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030’’ He reported. To ensure that the Country is well guided on its restoration program an economic analysis study was carried out to quantify the likely benefits and costs of various interventions over wide range of landscapes.
From the results presented traditional cowpeas farming integrated with Melia Volkensii had the highest Net Present Value (NPV) of KES 1,893,785, followed by poorly managed woodlots to improved eucalyptus woodlots at KES 1,649,510 and the silvo-pastoral system at Ksh 1,272,052 over the 30-year period.’’. The benefit cost ratio for the restoration transitions analyzed over the 30 year period ranged from a low of 9.6 (Grass reseeding) to highest of 39.6 (Intensive agroforestry cowpeas and Melia) while the cost of forest restoration ranged from allow of KES 28,662/ha to KES 631,032/ha (current values for 2018) depending on the restoration option adopted.
Jonah also noted that nationally the costs of forest landscape restorations were estimated at KES 1.8 trillion for the most conservative scenario of restoring 5.1million ha to KES 3.7 trillion for the ambitious target of 10.2 million ha. Whereas the benefits from restoration ranged from KES 7.6 trillion to KES 14.8 trillion over 30-year period with a benefit ratio of about 4.1. In his concluding remarks, he reported that all restoration transitions analyzed are economically feasible requiring massive financial resources and there is need to design innovative financing mechanisms to support restoration efforts such as PES schemes, conservation easements, and carbon credit schemes (REDD+).
Mr. Jonah identified key players who could lead the restoration drive these included agencies involved in environmental conservation; Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Forest Services (KFS), Kenya Water Tower Agency (KWTA), Climate Change Directorate, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA),Water Resources Authority (WARA) and County Governments.
The second group who can play a key role are International development partners and Local Agencies/NGO’s thus; United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNDP, WWF, IUCN, Nature Kenya, FAO, KWF, KFWG, Green Belt Movement (GBM), Forest action Network, Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Nile Initiative, Laikipia wildlife Forum, Africa Forest Forum, (AFF), EU, Finland (FINNIDA), Denmark (DANIDA), Japan (JICA), Germany (GIZ) and United Kingdom (DFID).
The third entities are the Private Sector Institutions such as; Commercial tree growers and processors such as tea companies and manufacturing industries of edible oil processors, utility companies, and Institutional investors like Pension funds, endowment funds, cooperative societies and banks.
In his concluding remarks, he reported that all restoration transitions analyzed are economically feasible requiring massive financial resources and there is need to design innovative financing mechanisms to support restoration efforts such as PES schemes, conservation easements, and carbon credit schemes (REDD+).