Journey Dr. Dr. Walubengo Walubengo is a Kenyan Forest/Natural Resources and Environment Management Specialist with experience in institutional capacity building, project planning, monitoring, evaluation and analysis, and engineering.
Dr. Dr. Walubengo Walubengo is a Kenyan Forest/Natural Resources and Environment Management Specialist with experience in institutional capacity building, project planning, monitoring, evaluation and analysis, and engineering. With an emphasis on managing forests of Kenya, Dr. Walubengo has made huge strides in the realm of forestry, from establishing small, neighborhood forests through individual tree planting, to teaching local communities the importance of forests and empowering them to planting some of their own.
The Forest Sector is key to Kenya’s social and economic wellbeing. The Sector contributes about Kenya Shillings 7 billion to the economy and employs over 50,000 people directly and another 300,000 indirectly. Forest ecosystems also enhance landscape resilience to climate change.
Kenya’s forest cover is estimated to be about 7.4% of the total land area, which is a far cry from the recommended global minimum of 10%. On the other hand, Kenya’s closed canopy forest cover currently stands at about 2% of the total land area, compared to the African average of 9.3% and a world average of 21.4 per cent. Most of the closed canopy forests in Kenya are montane forests that are also the nation’s water towers.
Although the population of Kenya has gone from less than 10 million people in the 1960’s, to surpassing 50 million people in recent times, the most recent forest policy was established in 1968, over 50 years ago. There is a lack of government initiative to properly manage forests throughout Kenya, ranging from extreme protection in the name of conservation, excluding the local communities completely from sustainably harvesting necessities or conducting rituals, to solely considering plantation forests, such as coffee plantations, under the umbrella of manageable forest resources.
Dr. Walubengo believes with proper governmental influence, the forests could be managed for their resources, while also being conserved, creating an assortment of environmental jobs for local communities and environmentalists.
Dr. Walubengo has spent many years in the environmental sector, and with that comes a great deal of wisdom he shares with us this week. From how he convinced his neighbors to let him plant a forest in his yard, to the political obstacles of developing governmental forest management, to what inspired him to join the environmental movement, Dr. Walubengo is a force to be reckoned with and we are happy to have him on Breaking Green Ceilings.