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Geography and CHSS students visit Mau Forest to mark Environment Day 2017

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University of Nairobi Geography students visited the Mau Forest – Elburgon side and witnessed the first-hand destruction of indigenous trees and the related devastating effects as the rivers dry up.

Accompanied by their Lecturer, Dr. Parita Shah, the Geography students had a chance to learn about the importanceof the indigenous forests in Kenya and the importance of the Mau Forest nationally, regionally and internationally. Students saw the destruction of the Mau forest whereby the locals were burning the forest as well as cutting it down.

According to Dr. Shah, the Mau forest is an Important Bird Area (IBA) and it also has endemic species of both flora and fauna. However since the destruction of the forest began, both the flora and fauna have reduced significantly in number. Moreover,the deforestation of Mau Forest by the locals will accelerate the effects of climate change and the area will soon experience the cyclic drought and floods. The preservation of this water tower is critical.

This can be achieved by educating the people on the impact of deforestation through schools, community based organizations, NGOs and adult classes, domesticating international agreements, implementing laid down policies and making institutions fully responsible. Everyone must realize that it is not the Government or Ministry of Environment or Kenya Forest Service alone to safeguard the country’s natural heritage, but it a collective effort by all citizens in line with the Vision 2030 to protect this rich heritage of Kenya.

In the recent past, University of Nairobi Geography students together with Kenya Forest Service have planted trees in the forest. The tree planting exercise is a show of solidarity and goes a long way in preservation of Mau forest. The visit to the Mau Forest is in line with this year’s environment theme:‘Connecting people to nature.’