Barking up the same trees: Water and forests 'cannot be separated' in East Africa's Rift Valley

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Africa – The forested mountains of East Africa deserve their ‘water towers’ moniker. Their springs and streams feed a number of major rivers and lakes, nourishing millions of people and countless ecosystems downstream.

But the functionality of these ‘water towers’ is under threat due to deforestation, land conversion, charcoal burning and encroachment for settlement. Without consistent forest cover, streams and rivers can diminish and dry up, and the quality of the remaining water degrade…

Participatory governance “is the future of forestry in Kenya,” said Boniface Mulwa, Assistant Ecosystem Conservator for the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), gesturing to one of the well-managed community forests in the Itare-Chemosit sub-catchment.

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Community member flicks through the new integrated water and forestry plans
Village elder reading the Itare-Chemosit Sub-Catchment Management Plan (SCMP) Violet Atieno/CIFOR

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