30 September 2013
Kenya’s Ogiek tribe, hunters and gatherers who live in the Rift Valley’s Mau Forest, say they are being excluded from forest restoration initiatives, which are focused on planting exotic trees rather than the indigenous species they rely on to survive.
“We have suffered a lot,” said Joseph Lesingo, a member of the Ogiek council of elders. “When the Mau Forest was destroyed, we lost a habitat and were also deprived of forest resources such as honey, wild fruits and medicine,” he told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Western Kenya’s Mau Forest Complex, the largest indigenous mountain forest in East Africa and an important water catchment, has experienced high levels of deforestation since the late 1980s, due to forest land being hived off for agriculture and human settlement. Around 100,000 hectares - a quarter of the forest’s total area - has been lost since 2000, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Read more from Thomson Reuters here.