GBM Blog

Why plant trees on Mount Kenya?

February 15, 2012 - 07:55AM
Published by Francesca de Gasparis

Mt Kenya photo credit: http://www.destination360.comThis blog was written by an intern in GBMI’s Europe office, Eliina Brinkberg

This month the Green Belt Movement has joined the Size of Wales to plant 8000 trees in the Mathira District on the slopes of Mt Kenya. We wanted to share a little more about Mount Kenya and why have we chosen to plant trees in this region and why it is so crucial.

Mt Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa at 5199 meters above sea level. Home to exceptionally rich biodiversity, it was listed as a world heritage site in 1998. The mountain serves as one of the five most important water towers in Kenya and is the source of numerous rivers such as the Tana River, the largest river in Kenya, and the Ewaso Nyiro River, the only river to provide water to the northern parts of the Laikipia and Samburu districts. The water that flows from Mt Kenya supplies more then two million people in the surrounding rural areas and is the main source of water for Nairobi’s three million inhabitants.

The crucial role it plays in water-catchment is currently under threat due to rapid deforestation rates in the area. The clearing of trees is resulting in soil erosion and increased surface run-off; water that was stored in the soil or vegetation is no longer held. This has had devastating effects on local communities that rely on the water supply for their crops and animals.

By planting trees in the Mathira District, on the lower slopes of the Mountain the soil is protected and the water retained. The trees act as wind breakers, preventing water-loss from the upper layers of soil and protecting it from wind erosion. The trees also provide valuable habitats for animals and plants thus protecting the local biodiversity and ecosystem, and also provide shelter and shade for both humans and animals alike.

By helping us to plant trees you are helping to maintain the lives and livelihoods of the people in the Mathira District and the neighbouring areas. With the Size of Wales pledging to match every pound/euro/dollar raised, we can make a real difference to the forests of Mt Kenya and the communities who rely on them.