Across Africa, the forest is a resource for sustenance for many people who rely on it as a source for fuel, building material or income. This has seen vast areas of forest being cleared,

In Kenya, a company called Semi-Arid Regions Environmental Service is taking environmental issues and conservation to the next level to replenish forests for a greener future. The team hopes to restore forest cover back to 10% in rural areas. This will be achieved through training the youth.

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Young boy holding a young tree

There have been major challenges in this training and at SARES they recognize that they must find a solution in dealing with the lack of adequate water. “Polymer is a product which absorbs water retaining moisture in the soil”. – Jeremiah Mutavi; founder of SARES

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When planting trees, a polymer is added to the soil around the tree. when it rains, this polymer will retain a large amount of water and store it. During the dry season, water will move through osmosis from the polymer to the surrounding soil. The roots of the young tree will then absorb this water, sustaining it through the dry season.

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SARS have developed a bio-repellent to deal with the challenge of termites which eat up tree seedlings. The challenge is that these very termites are also important for the soil. “Without the termites in the shamba, you have no manure, as they act as major decomposers in the soil ” – Jeremiah Mutavi. They also bring value to tree farming by making products from the oils that the trees release. “For example, Eucalyptus is a very good mosquito repellent so its oil is extracted. Coconut oil is anti-fungal”

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Ensuring that there is a tree nursery in every school provides a source of income for the environmental clubs, which can be used on school trips to keep the students motivated and see the economic value of trees.

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