Friday, 16 Apr 2021

The Acacia Seeds that are Helping Regrow Kenya's Depleted Forests

In a tranche of razed forest bordering the Masai Mara wildlife reserve, a team of rangers scatter generous handfuls of “seedballs” around the bald clearing to give nature a fighting chance to regenerate. It takes just minutes for the eight rangers from the Mara Elephant Project, a conservation group, to toss some 22,000 seedballs across this ravaged corner of the Nyakweri forest. Developed by Seedballs Kenya, the casing of charcoal dust protects the seed inside from being eaten by mice, birds or insects before it germinates. The shell is semi-porous, giving it a fighting chance even in arid conditions. Trees were felled en masse by colonial administrators to fuel a train across East Africa, while land today is cleared for agriculture and charcoal production as Kenya’s population grows upward and outward. The forests bordering the Masai Mara, the legendary wildlife haven and savannah wilderness in the country’s southwest, are no exception, chipped away for pasture, crops and charcoal, a cheap fuel. Developed by Seedballs Kenya, the casing of charcoal dust protects the seed inside from being eaten by mice, birds or insects before it germinates. The shell is semi-porous, giving it a fighting chance even in arid conditions.

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