By Sharon Atieno

Kenya has reached the 10% national tree cover target and surpassed it, Julius Kamau, Chief Conservator of Forests says.

Speaking at Ol-Kalou at the unveiling of Nyandarua County’s Strategic Plan on Forest Landscape Restoration, Kamau said that the country’s tree cover is now at 12%. Additionally, the national forest cover has risen from 5.99% in 2018 to slightly over 8%.

The last comprehensive forest cover assessment, “wall-to-wall”, conducted in 2013, established that by 2010 the national forest cover stood at 4.18 million hectares representing 6.99% of the total land area.

According to Kamau, the achievement of these targets was due to collaborative efforts between different stakeholders.

“These are key milestones but they did not happen in a vacuum, they happened because many stakeholders both at national level, county level, private sector and non-sector actors and mostly communities have been able to come together,” he said.

Though Kenya’s Vision 2030 had advocated for reaching 10% tree cover by 2030, a presidential directive by Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president saw the target pushed from 2030 to 2022.

A previous analysis of land-use change over the period 1990-2015 established that Kenya lost 311,000 hectares of forestland.

The country has been losing forests mainly due to conversion to settlements, crop farming and infrastructure developments. However, campaigns have been ongoing encouraging different stakeholders to step up in forest conservation and planting of trees.