The Aberdares National Park is home to one of Kenya's last remaining primary forests and is the main water tower for the Nairobi capital. There are major threats to this ecosystem: logging, charcoal production (fuel sources), pastures, cultivation and housing construction. All these activities are illegal, but constantly increasing due to demographic pressure. The consequences for water resources and biodiversity are visible. To reverse this trend, the Green Belt Movement, led by Wangari Maathai, requested AFD's support in 2006 to restore degraded areas, raise awareness among neighbouring populations and improve their living conditions.
The project included: creation of nurseries (production of 4 million plants) and replanting trees on degraded plots (2,000 hectares), awareness of forest protection with the help of the civil society (local NGOs, groups of women, etc.), diversification of sources of income of people living near the forest and promotion of profitable alternative use of forest products to create a replicable methodology for the rehabilitation of other forest ecosystems.
According to the Green Belt Movement, the project made it possible to plant 4.1 million trees, about half of them on 2,000 hectares of forest and the other half on 1,900 hectares of public sites or community areas. Wangari Maathai's work in raising community awareness on the importance of forest conservation earned her the 2004 Nobel Prize. Her action has most certainly helped mitigate the impacts of climate change on Nairobi water supply.
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