Kenya : planting trees in semi-arid regions using seedballs

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The constitutionally accepted forest cover in Kenya is supposed to be 10% but data from National Environmental Management Authority puts the cover at 7.4%.

When Teddy Kinyanjui was contracted to plant trees in the out skits of Nairobi, he discovered something that led to an innovation that is now essential in improving vegetation cover in arid and semi-arid regions.

"What happened is that I started to notice on the side of the highway, here are some people from the highway authority being paid to clear the vegetation and one of the things they are cutting is the same type and same species of tree that we were forcing and struggling to grow not only two metres away. That got me thinking, who planted all the trees in Kenya to begin with."

To ensure the right trees are planted at the right locations, Seedballs Kenya has been keen on collaborating with experts in achieving this.

"When the rangers are going out on patrol, either on the ground or an aircraft they are able to take seeds with them. When they find somewhere where illegal logging is happening, they can match the same species of tries to that area where trees have been cut down."

The cost of planting trees using seedballs is highly reduced and the rate of seed waste is also pushed to the bare minimum since the viability of the seeds is estimated to be 5 years. The seeds are also protected from being eaten by pests and birds.

Since the use of charcoal is not ending soon, Kinyanjui has also ventured into making energy saving Jikos with the intent of reducing charcoal uptake. As the country strives to increase its forest cover, Seedballs Kenya has so far made notable achievement towards increasing vegetation cover in land previously bare.

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