Forests cover less than 3% of Kenya’s land area but they’re an important source of income, food and economic growth to the country. However, forests are increasingly under pressure, due to rampant charcoal burning, illegal logging, overgrazing, forest fires and pollution. The Kijabe Environment Volunteers group (KENVO) has made great moves in preserving vast areas of the Gatamaiyu forest near Nairobi, working with local communities, many of whom were previously involved in illegal and destructive activities in the forest.
KENVO works in partnership with IUCN Member Nature Kenya. The Gatamaiyu forest is an important bird area and home to the threatened Abbott's Starling, African Green Ibis, Crowned Hawk Eagle and many others. It’s also an important community asset as it’s the main source of both timber and non-timber products such as water, herbal medicine, fodder for livestock, grazing and building materials. Stephen Kamau, one of KENVO’s conservation officers takes us on a trip through the forest and explains why it’s so important to the local community and its resident wildlife.