This Earth Day help Kenyan based charity Rhino Ark reach its goal of planting 40,000 to 80,000 trees per month over the next three years to restore Kenya’s once pristine mountain forest ecosystems. Whether you’ve visited the East African nation for a safari or dream of it or you just want to give back to a global good cause, Rhino Ark is seeking to reduce some of the effects of the climate crisis one tree at a time.
Although the vote is out on whether planting trees can combat climate change entirely, scientists have determined it may play a supportive role. Sassan Saatchi, an expert in global forest carbon sticks and dynamics told NASA’s Global Climate Change website, that he believed the concept had some merit.
“I feel there’s a strong possibility a significant portion of these lands can be reforested to their original forest cover,” said Saatchi. “It’s definitely not a solution by itself to addressing current climate change. To do that, we need to reduce human emissions of greenhouse gases. But it could still have some partial impact on our ability to reduce climate change.”
Help Conserve Kenya's Mountain Forest Ecosystems
Rhino Ark, a charity which works towards the conservation and protection of Kenya’s mountain forest ecosystems, endangered wildlife and forest adjacent communities,“Tree Planting” campaign launched in January in an effort to support reforestation in Kenya and they are spreading the word again this Earth Day.
This initiative kicked off in the South Western Mau Forest Reserve, part of the expansive Mau Forests Complex. The campaign provides the opportunity for local communities and people around the world to partner together to raise funds to carry out replanting of indigenous trees in forest areas most in need of rehabilitation.
“We are excited about the new tree planting campaign and thrilled by the enthusiasm from our supporters in working to get this huge project underway,” says Christian Lambrechts, Rhino Ark's Executive Director. “While there are a number of initiatives out there, it is not easy to directly do tree planting unless you own land on which to plant.
Our initiative is a bridge that provides a way for individuals to really make a difference. We give thanks to those that have already donated funds to Rhino Ark and those who will be contributing to this new initiative as they are vital to ensuring the continuation of the invaluable projects Rhino Ark carries out.”
Why It's Important To Plant Trees Here on Earth Day
Rhino Ark has been at the leading edge of Kenya’s mountain forest conservation efforts since 1988. The charity is fully engaged in conservation of the Aberdare, Mount Kenya, Mau Eburu and South Western Mau natural forest ecosystems and their wildlife.
Helping to protect these high forests, known as “water towers,” this Earth Day helps support an ecosystem that is vital to the well-being of the millions of Kenyans dependent on the forests for their livelihoods. A combination of illegal logging, charcoal burning, livestock grazing, human settlement, farming and forest fires have all contributed to their extensive degradation, however.
Today there is a need to restore 450,000 hectares of forest in Kenya, a massive task that requires urgent action. Restoring one hectare of heavily degraded forest requires that 1,100 trees are grown, so nearly 500 million trees are needed.
How You Can Help
To reach their monthly target, the trust is seeking at least 1,000 committed individuals to contribute KES 10,000 to KES 20,000 ($88-$176) per month. Additional options include donating directly to the cost of building micro fences to protect the seedlings for a period of up to three years and providing funds for hiring community scouts to secure the replant sites.
Larger donors can also provide sponsorship of tree seedlings for a specific area of forest or ‘adopt’ a section of forest to be named after them such that they would be able to identify the areas that they’ve sponsored and obtain rights to visit.
“The money raised for this campaign will go solely towards planting trees and a dedicated tree planting tracking webpage and social media feeds will keep supporters updated on the forest rehabilitation progress,” added Lambrechts. “The community will benefit through the sale of tree seedlings and wages earned from site preparation, micro fencing to protect them from wildlife and livestock, and seedling planting labor.
They will also earn income from periodic site maintenance work, which includes carrying out bi-annual spot weeding and bush clearing to eliminate pressure on the growing seedlings from weeds and invasive species of plants, and infilling, which is the replacement of any seedlings that do not survive. The tree growing skills the communities will learn through this initiative will also help them improve the environment on their own farms.”
To learn more about Rhino Ark and how to make a donation, please visit the tree planting campaign here .