Initiative to boost access to native tree seeds

Dr Jane Njuguna and Éliane Ubilojaro plant a tree. [James Wanzala, Standard]

A forestry research organisation has launched a climate initiative to enhance the availability of high-quality native tree seeds across several African countries.

The “Right Tree, Right Place: Seed Project”, which was launched at ICRAF, Nairobi, will be implemented by Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burkina Faso and aims to advance African land restoration goals.

The initiative also seeks to bridge the gap between planting policy and execution, improve coordination between the public and private sectors in seed accessibility, and establish viable business models to promote the adoption of native tree seeds, all of which allow a unique combination of skills.

“We need high-quality seeds for the right species that are best suited to their purpose and environment. This is how we create good and resilient ecosystems – for food security, biodiversity, livelihoods and stabilising our climate,” said Eliane Ubalijoro, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF).

She added: “By nurturing native species, we are not only safeguarding our environment but also partnering with local communities and fostering resilience. “

“Investing in seed systems is to preserve our heritage, protect biodiversity, build a global commons that can ignite high-quality tree seed systems including the private sector and secure a sustainable future for generations to come,” she said.

With a budget of €20 million (Sh3 billion), this landscape restoration endeavour will foster an environment conducive to native tree seed and seedling production and enhance supply-demand dynamics, through knowledge sharing, seed mobilisation and capacity development, for example.

The project’s innovative force lies in addressing local and global challenges through tree planting for both current and predicted future climates.

It builds upon local knowledge, science and cooperation between communities and the public and private sectors to make restoration scalable and sustainable.

The project will be implemented in Kenya, whose commitment under the Bonn Challenge and AFR100 initiatives is to restore 5.1 million hectares of native forest by 2030.