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Stakeholders in Muguga forest conservation on 26th September 2020 celebrated the 9th Anniver-sary for the late Prof Wangari Maathai by planting indigenous trees at Gachuthi natural forest block.
KEFRI scientists guided both the young and elderly volunteers through the forest nature trail and explained the essence of the various tree species endemic in Muguga forest. The seed experts also created awareness on best tree nursery establishment and management techniques.
Dr. Eston Mutitu together with community members planting a commemorative tree at Gachuthi natural forest.
The chief guest, the President of the Rotary club in Lavington, Mr Richard Kirundi planted Muth-engera (Podocarpus latifolius) which is an indig-enous species valued for quality timber and herbal extracts. KEFRI's Central Highland Eco-regional Research Programme director Dr. Eston Mutitu planted Munderendu (Teclea nobilis), representa-tive from Mother Earth planted Mũthiga (Warbur-gia ugandensis), KEFRI veterans led by renown taxonomist Mr. Francis Gachathi planted Mũiri (Prunus africana), the Assistant County Commis-sioner for Kikuyu planted Mũtarakwa (Juniperus procera), members of the Church Missionary So-ciety planted Murangi commonly known as Bam-boo (Bambusa vulgaris), Nderi Youth Filming Fraternity planted Mũkindũri (Croton megalocar-pus), Nguriunditu youth group among other repre-sentatives from Karai, Kerwa planted Mũtamaiyũ (Olea africana) while MERCFA planted Mũhũgũ (Brachylaena huillensis) highly valued in wood curving industry. "The Rotary club is committed to work with other stakeholders in sustenance of the late Prof. Maathai conservation initiative which will help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," said Kirundi.
Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace combined science, social commitment and active politics.
Maathai initiated Green Belt Movement (GBM) after realising that our Country was in a state of environmental crisis, marked by biodiversity loss-forestry and other ecosystem degradation, rapid population and climate change that aggravate poverty, inequality and hunger.
“KEFRI in its mission of research and dissemination of its findings has partnered with other stakeholders to improve Muguga forest ecosystem and livelihoods of the adjacent communities,” said Dr. Mutitu.
He noted that the forest has rich biodiversity that needs to be preserved for research and utilization by the current and future generations.
Dr. Mutitu appreciated the cordial relationship between the institute and adjacent community which he said will sustain the late Proffesor's efforts in environmental conservation.
“Gachuthi forest has a unique biodiversity - hosting endangered tree species of Vepris glandulosa and East Africa Sandalwood (Osyris lanceolata) and conservation of its flora and fauna is paramount,” said Mr. Gachathi.
“The communuity adjacent the forest needs to pursue means of sustainably utilizing the resources, a feat that requires a delicate balance of trade-offs,” further said Gachathi.
MERCFA Chairperson Mr. Simon Kamonde thanked the stakeholders for protecting Gachuthi forest which hosts the late Wangari Maathai’s environmental conservation site.
“Gachũthi natural forest has supported adjacent community with forest products for over fifty years. However, due to high demands by rapid human population, the resource face looming degradation,” Kamonde said.