Kenya’s Kijabe Forest is a highland mosaic ‘Afro-alpine’ forest that was once dominated by trees, such as the East African pencil-cedar and African olive. Roughly one-third of the original high-canopy forest still stands and provides important habitat for biodiversity. The forest is only about 5,000 hectares, but a community of almost 200,000 people depend on it for water, wood, and agriculture. Increasing pressure for land poses significant threats to the region, leading to the over-extraction of resources and illegal timber harvesting. Planting trees here will help protect this vital ecosystem, promote environmental education, and foster sustainable livelihoods through seed collection and ecotourism.
Our partner, The Kijabe Forest Trust, is committed to restoring 5,000 hectares of primary forests in Kijabe. This project will work directly with communities to protect, conserve, and restore the forest, helping to safeguard water and other ecosystem services. Planting trees here will improve access to sustainable livelihoods by employing community members, promoting ecotourism and non-timber forest products, and providing environmental education and advocacy.
A personalized tree certificate to say thanks for your donation. We’ll also send you updates on our Kenya project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
The species we are planting are highly dependent on the altitudinal zones of the escarpment area. The mix will include climax species (such as Juniperus procera, Olea europaea ssp. africana, and Warburgia ugandensis), and faster growing cover species such as Croton megalocarpus, Dombeya rotundifolia, and Sesbania sesben.
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.