Carbon sequestration by trying to re-create indigenous forests


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I saw one of the World Development Report’s recommendations in action yesterday. Kenya’s Green Belt Movement (founded by Professor Wangari Maathai) is working with the Kenya Forest Service, with support from the French Development Agency, a grant from the Government of Japan (PHRD) and carbon credits (both managed by the World Bank), to replant native forests. 

     Mercy Karunditu, Project Officer

The original forest had been cut down and a tough native grass had taken over. Patches of grass had to be cut in order to plant the seedlings of native trees and the grass constantly managed for the first years until the trees were strong enough. The team told us how the carbon credits were planned for 12 years from the start of the project, though it was clear that the trees would still be small at that point. Up front financing for a period of many years is clearly essential. 

Project officer Mercy Karunditu told us of the multiple challenges the team faces in nurturing these seedlings.  First, villagers grazing their animals on the land where the year old seedlings stand at just ankle height.  Second, elephants which destroy the seedlings. Third, fires set by villagers in the native forests to encourage growth of new grass for their animals. And fourth, climate change. 
“We used to be sure when the rains would come, now we cannot be sure and when they do come they are very strong and last only for a very short period,” Mercy said. 


Getting the operational details right so that teams like this can succeed will be key to making this tool, which brings both mitigation and adaptation benefits, succeed.


Julia Bucknall

Director for Environment and Natural Resources

Join the Conversation

September 22, 2009

As we talk of climate change it is evident that things has changed.Nowadays we can not predict weather patterns as we used to.Conservation of our forests is a must if we have to survive else we perish.A case like in my country Kenya i feel we need to do reafforestation and also practice agroforestry to ease pressure to our forests.My suggestion is we target school children educate them on the need of conservation,put nurseries in schools and we actualise planting by taking them to the forests to plant.On agroforestly we can be giving them seedlings to plant on their farms for free.Using this approch we can definately reverse the problems we are expiriencing.

Mr. Henry M. Bazira
September 24, 2009

You may already be aware that often times when people plact trees they opt for fast-growing and exotic tree species such as pines, eucaplytus, etc. This usually happens in areas that have been depleted of the natural forest cover or in reclaimed areas. Consequently, exotics are fast replacing indigeneous forest estates resulting in alteration of the micro- and macro-climates of an area. This has an effect of being extrapolated to other areas changing the ecosystem balance. We should therefore not be surprised that nature is turning its guns against us and we are paying for our sins. This is the time when we all must re-think our roles and responsibilities to mother nature, especially as we go to Copenhagen in December 2009 for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

At Copenhagen, all developed and developing nations must reach agreement for deeper cuts in green house gas GHG emissions. The proposed 25-40% emission cuts by UNFCCC are realistic, based on empirical data and are attainable. Countries must invest in Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) with a view of preserving natural forest cover and increasing the forest estate cover based on indigenous tree species, if REDD is to be meaningful and effective to developing countries. Kenya is paying for many years of abuse of mother nature. Uganda, my homeland, is on a fast-track of commiting the same sins Kenya and others committed against mother nature. Uganda has already lost 5.0million hectares(ha) of natural forest cover over the last 19 years. This a loss rate of 263,158 ha per year of forest cover. At this rate, the remaining natural forst cover will be lost in the next 20 years, if nothing is done to halt or reverse the trend.

Devloping countries like Kenya and Uganda should be given an opportunity to determine (negotiate) their price (i.e. in carbon trading & carbon credits)for sequestering the carbon emitted by the developed countries, rather than dictates of the developed countries. This way the Cleaner Development Mechanism (CDM) or Greener Development will be more meaningful to the developing world.

Nicholas Ngece
September 30, 2009

We are interested in partnering with organizations working in the area of DRR and its relationship to climate change. Over the years our organization has been engaged in activity geared towards mitigating the effects of climate change. Our long term experience in some of our project sites over the years has shown that the effects of climate change include drought, and to a further extent disaster.

Could any organization interested in these areas be in touch. We have lots of experience to share.

newton kang
February 12, 2010

i have a tree nursery with over 200,000 thousand seedlings and plannig to expand. how can i benefit from carbon credits to make some economic sense and to plant seedlings as a business kindly help