Towards achieving 10% forest cover in Kenya
The National strategy for the achievement and maintenance of 10% forest cover by 2022 has created increased demand for tree planting materials for conservation, industrial and domestic needs. According to the strategy and consequent defined initiatives, the country currently requires 1billion seedlings planted annually in order to achieve the target of 2 billion tree seedlings planted by 2022. This calls for extensive and intensive tree seedling production in the country from existing and new tree nurseries. Tree nurseries therefore will be a very lucrative livelihood earner among interested groups in the country. For a long time, the forestry nursery sector in Kenya, particularly small scale tree nurseries have been characterized by low quality planting stock and from a narrow range of tree species and coupled with poor matching of species has often resulted to high mortality rates in the field. Poor handling during field transplanting also result in high mortality rate of seedlings sometimes as high as 50–60%. These problems can be traced back to the nurseries having poor management practices thereby producing low quality planting materials with low survival capability. Seedling quality is a major factor that determines the success of tree farming and reforestation. The survival of trees, growth performance, length of rotation period and volume and quality of timber that can be harvested are greatly influenced by the quality of seedlings used.
Certification of tree nurseries will address problems of low quality, low vigor and poor health that and could lead to an increase in the quality of seedling available and also minimize the high field mortality at out-planting.