The Kijabe Forest is a remnant example of the forest type that used to cover much of the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. The forest used to represent a fairly contiguous extension of the more mesic forests of the Aberdares watershed and the Kikuyu Escarpment Forest Reserve, which forms the headwaters of Kenya’s largest river, the Tana.
Increasing pressure for land has caused the forest to become fragmented, and the Kijabe forest "strip" has become almost entirely distinct from the larger Kikuyu Escarpment. Illegal activities such as the extraction of high-value timber (cedar and olive) and the production of illegal charcoal have left many areas degraded, and in some areas completely deforested, even within the boundaries of the gazetted forest reserve. These pressures are further exacerbated by a changing climate.
Our partner, the Kijabe Forest Trust, was founded in 2013 by a group of concerned community members who wanted to reverse the trends they were seeing in the area. Their work includes actively patrolling and enforcing the forest laws, leading restoration and replanting efforts, creating education campaigns, and promoting sustainable practices.