Order your own tree seedballs to start greening up your town today from www.seedballskenya.com
Having an event and want to give out a biodegradable packet of indigenous tree seeds for people to take home and grow?
New eco-charcoal now in stock! We now have the amazing Soul Coal leleshwa bush charcoal harvested from fire breaks at Ol Ari Nyiro conservancy in Laikipia County. This charcoal supports local community members as well as controlling the spread of the invasive Leleshwa plant. Perfect for your daily bbq and baking needs, burns hot and clean. (800ksh for 8kgs here)
This month we will be running our first jiko photo contest and you could win 10,000ksh store credit towards a new jiko of your dreams 😍
Inbox us your photos or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, get ready, get set, GO!
Please welcome our newest ReGreen Partner the KIBWEZI WELLWISHERS (Centre for sustainability) grassroots group
Once an ‘army’ of charcoal makers has moved on they leave behind patches of earth where the kiln was located that have been subjected to high temperatures for long periods of time. This causes a number of serious land degradation issues, up to one foot below the surface of the land can be essentially sterilized; bacteria, nematodes, earthworms, seeds, humus, rhizomes, all die or are destroyed from the partial combustion of large amounts of wood in a closed kiln.
In areas where the silica content is high this treatment can produce patches of what are essentially uncompacted red-fired clay blocks. This type of treatment takes years for the soil to begin to start recovering. Where the unused branches and thorns are piled up, they adversely cover the grass for grazing until they sufficiently rot down enough for livestock to access underlying pasture.
This leaves the area where the kiln was situated directly exposed to the elements and particularly prone to erosion. Typical sites that data has been collected from, average 482m, which is roughly 1/100th of an acre, which may not seem like much, but in areas under heavy charcoal production, there may be 10 or more kilns per acre! In places where intensive charcoal production is taking place, this amounts to hundreds of acres so finely spaced out that they escape immediate notice.
|How many kiln sites can you count here?|
In many dryland areas the main land use model is based around semi-nomadic pastoralism. Typical stocking rates of livestock is around 3 acres of land per head of sheep and 6 acres of land per head of cattle. As the loss of pasture and tree cover (many acacias provide valuable dry season fodder from the seeds and leaves) increases alongside the National demand for nyama choma (BBQ), the competition for resources in these areas is amplified and may result in further forest degradation.
Objective: To exemplify appropriate methods of rehabilitating ‘scorched earth’ charcoal kiln sites into productive, multi use zones.
Strategy: Micro-woodlot and pasture seedbank establishment will be the key tool in rectifying current destruction. A simple 3 step program is advised.
- When/where possible the kiln sites should undergo double digging and mix in adequate amounts of manure and organic matter.
-The micro-woodlots should be covered with the waste branches from previous charcoal production
-Then the kiln site should be high density directly seeded with endemic and carefully selected tree and grass species that are pelleted into seedballs and to be naturally irrigated by rainfall. We advise focusing the tree seeds in the middle and then grasses on the edges of the kiln sites and covering them with thorny branches if possible.
|Rangers with the Mara Elephant Project seeding old charcoal kiln sites|
|Evidence of a degraded soil seedbank from the heat of the fire, only the acacia seedballs have gown after the rains.|
Budget: Initial demonstration micro-woodlots typically need to be externally financed. Once proven in an area the charcoal makers themselves should finance rehabilitation under stipulation from the landowner as part of the charcoal making process and cost. Labour and seeds are the only key inputs. Seeds can also be collected from the wild or seedballs purchased or donated to local conservation organizations through this link (http://www.seedballskenya.com/donate/4594311653) manure is typically free from the landowner’s livestock enclosure, the fencing material is a waste byproduct that is already on location. The labour cost for fully rehabilitating one kiln of typical dimensions in a rural area should be around 500ksh.
Land degradation is one of the greatest threats in the dryland areas of Kenya. The use of low efficiency kilns has a huge unintended impact on the ecology of areas under production. Coupled with an increasing demand of woodfuels from urban centers and currently minimal reforestation programs in charcoal making Counties, this problem will continue to degrade the land and therefore adversely affect area residents locally and regionally.