Joining forces to save Homa Bay’s dwindling forests

An aerial view of Kodera Forest on April 27.


What you need to know:

  • According to KFS, tree cover in the county is 3.18 per cent against the recommended 10 per cent

For any environmentalist, a look at some of the forests in Homa Bay causes pain.
Trees have been cut, leaving the ground bare and exposed to soil erosion.

Other sections of some forests have also been burnt by wildfires while others encroached by families living at the edge of the forests.

Another challenge that threatens tree cover in the county is the use of firewood for cooking in schools. Homa Bay hosts some of the top schools in the country.

Mr Willis Omullo, the chairman of Aluora Makare, a community-based organisation that deals with environment conservation, says the low tree cover is a concern to him and other like-minded persons.

The county is home to forests like Gwassi, Lambwe, Kodera, Wire, among others.
But they are all under threat from deforestation.

According to the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), tree cover in the county is 3.18 per cent against the recommended 10 per cent.

This, however, is up from less than three per cent two years ago.

The regeneration of the forest cover is due to efforts by both the county and the national government to save the environment.

Over the past few months, the KFS has been involved in sensitising residents about the benefits of planting trees.

Some of the areas where KFS wants trees to be planted include at the fence, road side and landscaping in towns.

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) is endeavouring to lead by example.
Nema officials led by county director Josiah Nyandoro decided to adopt Gwassi Forest and Agiro Primary School in Rusinga Island to use them as models to promote a clean environment.

Nema has an adaptation fund which it uses to implement adaptation measures to climate change.
At the forest, Nema planted 3,000 seedlings in conjunction with the community forest association.

Meanwhile at Agiro, the agency planted 3,400 seedlings.

The county government of Homa Bay, on the other hand, has started a competition in schools meant to encourage planting of trees. Institutions that will plant more trees per capita will have a project undertaken at the school, including the constitution of a new classroom.

Governor Gladys Wanga says her mission is to see Homa Bay County green.