Kenya (1 February, 2021) – Following the successful launch of East Africa’s first All-Women Anti-Poaching Ranger Academy in 2019, the ZEITZ foundation embarked on its next important initiative in 2020: combining education and vocational training with a reforestation, conservation and biodiversity initiative. Creating protected areas and growing new forest, the ZEITZ foundation aims to plant over 1 million trees in the next five years, making it East Africa’s largest reforestation project on a private conservancy. For our first phase of the Tree of Life forest,100,000 tree seedlings were planted in Spring 2020 in the shape of a huge rhinoceros on Segera Conservancy – a 50,000 acre wildlife sanctuary in Laikipia, Kenya. Thanks to our generous supporters, the second phase of 50,000 more tree seedlings
50,000 more tree seedlings were planted in December 2020, with another 100,000 seedlings planned for Spring 2021.
Deforestation is causing alarm across the globe as a dangerous and rapid decrease in forestcovered land exacerbates our planet’s climate crisis. Kenya’s forest covering has dropped from 10% to only 6% in the last decade alone. The long-term effects will have a critically negative impact on the ecosystem, affecting not only plant and animal life, but also the wellbeing of Kenyan communities who rely on the land’s fertility for their own prosperity.
Not only is the ZEITZ foundation trying to change these devastating statistics by planting 1 million trees in Kenya over the next 5 years, but the majority of these tree seedlings will be cultivated, grown and planted by a new Vocational Training Centre for Forestry and Permaculture on Segera Conservancy, launching in Summer 2021, to create education and employment opportunities for local communities.
Planting trees is an essential aspect of restoring and replenishing land, as a healthy biodiversity also creates underground water reserves, fertile topsoil and an abundant carbon sequestration capacity. In consultation with local experts, six different indigenous tree species were chosen to maximize long-term success for the ‘Tree of Life’ forest: Acacia abyssinica, Acacia kirkii, Acacia polyacantha, Acacia seyal, Acacia xanthophloea, Acacia mellifera.
At only $1 per tree, every donation makes a real difference towards protecting Kenya’s biodiversity for the future, and everyone can take part.
This ZEITZ foundation reforestation initiative is being carried out in partnership with Kisima, a leader in forestry management in Kenya, led by Charles Dyer (Forest Designer and General Manager of Kisima Foundation). Supporters include the Leopold Bachmann Foundation, AKO Foundation, Rick Steve’s Climate Smart, Equinoxe Trust, Solidarité International, Freestream and other valued private donors. This project is also endorsed by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), supporting their national campaign to plant 1 trillion trees in Kenya.
“The effects of climate change are causing unprecedented impact across the Globe. Kenya has seen its share of this change with longer cycles of drought and excessive rains, resulting in loss of critical biodiversity including wildlife and landslides sweeping away habitats vital to survival of some species. Under the leadership of the President of Kenya, HE Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya has an ambitious programme of ensuring a forest cover of 10% of its landmass by planting 1.5 billion trees across the country. Kenyans in all sectors of society have joined hands to achieve this noble ambition. This programme by the Zeitz Foundation of planting 1 million indigenous trees on Segera Wildlife Conservancy in Laikipia, is a welcome initiative which will play an important part in achieving this target – I would like to commend the Zeitz Foundation for this support.”
“Forestry is one of the most rewarding ways of spending time, planting an indigenous forest that by chance is a huge piece of art – a rhino “Tree of Life”. I know this forest will continue to inspire and enrich all of us, from the ant to the elephant and everything else in between.”
“In recent years we have seen an alarming amount of climate change, biodiversity loss and natural disaster. Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm, it’s about actively doing more good. Planting trees is such a simple way to give back to our planet (that everyone can get involved in, on a large or small scale) – not just to offset carbon emissions, but to create a safe, long-term wildlife habitat that is critical for the future survival of biodiversity.”