Kenya - Trees in their millions
Forests and Climate - Committed to a beneficial environment for humans
Forests are particularly important in Africa and lie at the heart of ecological and economic concerns. Robert M. Njeru, HSC*, TOTAL Eco Challenge Advisor, explains how Total is contributing to reforestation in Kenya.
Eighty per cent of Kenya’s domestic energy comes from plant resources, which has caused serious deforestation problems over the years. This is why the country needed support to preserve the resource, reverse the trend and also allow sustainable economic exploitation of the forests. Total therefore launched the TOTAL Eco Challenge program in 2003 in conjunction with institutions, organisations and communities. The principle is simple, and particularly effective: it is a national tree planting challenge, open to everyone, both individuals and organizations.
* Head of State Commendation, a Kenya State Medal.
The program has been highly successful, largely thanks to a campaign encouraging people to plant a tree at every key moment in life: since 2003, over 5,000 organizations have joined the competition as part of the TOTAL Eco Challenge program, with very visible, tangible results: whilst closed canopy forests’ coverage in Kenya fell to just 1.7% in 2003, it has now increased to 6.9%.
Oil exploration, the environment and tourism can coexist in harmony.
Biodiversity: another step forward
We are certainly not about to stop when things are going so well. We want to take more account of biodiversity and be able to increase the number of varieties of tree we plant. In particular, “insect friendly trees”, which are very useful for pollination. To give the TOTAL Eco Challenge an even broader perspective, the program will be supplemented with a National Seed Bank dubbed “The TOTAL Seed Centre”. The idea is to advise the public on choice of seeds to prioritize and distribute on request, which will help to address the disappearance of certain plant species.