Tag Archives: illegal land clearance and Kenya fires

Kenya: fires destroy vital forest area on Mt Kenya

AL JAZEERA

A week-long fire raging on Kenya’s highest mountain has devoured thousands of hectares of Mount Kenya’s ancient forests, a crucial water catchment for the country.

Described as a potential ecological disaster, the fire on Mount Kenya is now threatening the wildlife in the area as well.

In addition to being a UNESCO world heritage site, the second-highest peak in Africa at 5,199 metres plays a crucial role in a country fighting against drought. The green canopy retains water in the wet season, releasing it in the dry months.

“This region – I would call it the lifeline or the backbone of the country. The Kenyan people and the Kenyan economy rely on the ecosystem serviced by the water towers which provide rainfall and hydro-electricity,” Susie Weeks of Mount Kenya Trust said.

Al Jazeera’s Naznine Moshiri, reporting from Mount Kenya, said it was believed the spark came from people clearing bamboo to plant illegal crops.

Poachers also target the elephants that roam the forested slopes of Mount Kenya for their ivory tusks. Read more…