Nyamira County Conservator George McOoko led a section of residents in planting 2,000 trees to mark the International Day of Forests.
Presiding over the occasion at Sironga primary school grounds, the Conservator asked residents to be at the forefront in castigating those who destroy the trees by grazing livestock on planted fields or using the same field as a playground.
He said such activities will prevent those trees from growing to maturity. Today’s theme to mark the International day of Forests emphasizes the importance of sustainable management of forests because they are a source of health and livelihood for everyone.
We all depend on forests as sources of food, medicine, shelter, energy, income, and several other uses,” said the officer. McOoko observed that as much as Nyamira County has achieved 35 percent of tree cover, the majority of the species planted especially in riparian areas are blue gum which the forestry department has tirelessly discouraged for years on end because of the detrimental effects they have of draining water from the ground leaving it totally degraded.
“The forestry department will continue its relentless efforts to educate the citizenry on the disadvantages and long-term negative effects of planting blue gum trees in water catchment areas, unprecedented deforestation without replacement of indigenous trees to be used as sources of cooking energy which endangers their survival and sustainability of our forest in general,” the conservator said.
Nyamira South Sub County Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Ms. Florence Obunga who led the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs) team pledged government readiness to coordinate with various NGAO Officers to ensure that trees planted at Sironga Primary School were protected to reclaim the endangered wetland due to brick making and other human activities like planting of blue gum trees and grazing of livestock and cutting down indigenous trees for use at home as firewood.
“All of us must take advantage of the long-term rain season which has set in to plant as many trees as possible because they need a lot of water after transplanting to harden off before starting their normal growth”.
Obunga said “We must equally endeavor to nurture these trees until they mature to be assured that the zealous activity of tree planting will not be a waste of time but an investment which will be a future testimony to the current younger generation,” the DCC added.
She advised NGAO to inquire from the office of the County Conservator on where to access high-quality seeds to use to prepare tree seedbeds so they can be able to implement the President’s directive of planting 30 trees per month to increase forest cover in the country and mitigate the effects of climate change due to deforestation.
The DCC warned residents who graze their livestock in areas where trees have been planted that it will not be business as usual and they will no longer be spared because they render efforts of planting trees to reclaim Sironga wetland futile.
She further hinted that they plan to eventually plant 12,000 trees in the area so that it regains its cool green ambience destroyed by human activity.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of preserving all types of forests.