•   
  •   

World The simple 'seedballs' giving Kenya's forests a helping hand

09:11  28 february  2021
09:11  28 february  2021 Source:   afp.com

Mother jailed over helping son flee Australia to avoid drug trafficking charges

  Mother jailed over helping son flee Australia to avoid drug trafficking charges Elizabeth Anne Turner is sentenced to four years in jail for her role in helping her son flee Australia to avoid facing court over serious drug trafficking charges. She helped him purchase a yacht and prepare it so he could to escape to the Philippines.A jury found Elizabeth Anne Turner, 66, guilty at her trial in November 2020 of one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice and three counts of giving a false testimony.

At first glance, the round black pellets could easily be mistaken for animal dung. But these hardy little balls contain acacia seeds that are helping regrow Kenya's depleted forests.

a boy in a garden: Green shoots: Seedballs are helping new growth in Kenya forests, devastated by colonial clearing and agriculture production © TONY KARUMBA Green shoots: Seedballs are helping new growth in Kenya forests, devastated by colonial clearing and agriculture production

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.

Huge bug the size of a human HAND terrifies insect enthusiasts

  Huge bug the size of a human HAND terrifies insect enthusiasts A family were walking through Camp Mountain, in Brisbane's north-east when they spotted the giant insect perching on a tree trunk.The family were walking through Camp Mountain, in Brisbane's north-east, when they spotted the giant insect perching on a tree.

"It is very simple," said Jackson Maitai, whose rangers discovered that loggers had illegally cleared this land during their routine patrols to protect elephants in the area.

a group of people in uniform: Rangers have been giving nature a helping hand by scattering seedballs by any means possible © TONY KARUMBA Rangers have been giving nature a helping hand by scattering seedballs by any means possible

"The seedballs are not actually heavy. We just throw them away everywhere we see there is deforestation, so it is not a big deal."

Humble though they may be, seedballs are tackling a century-old problem in Kenya.

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.

a person that is standing in the grass: Seedballs only contain indigenous species, mainly varieties of acacias, the classic tree of the East African savannah © TONY KARUMBA Seedballs only contain indigenous species, mainly varieties of acacias, the classic tree of the East African savannah

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.

The Best Beauty Trends To Recreate From Milan Fashion Week's Fall 2021 Shows

  The Best Beauty Trends To Recreate From Milan Fashion Week's Fall 2021 Shows From Max Mara's graphite eyes to Valentino's blunt fringes, these are the best beauty trends to take from Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter '21 runways.And while Milan Fashion Week autumn/winter '21 may be over, it didn't wrap up without leaving endless inspiration for the beauty obsessives among us.

Nyakweri, for example, has lost more than 50 percent of its forest cover in the past two decades, reducing key habitats for wild animals, according to Marc Goss, the director of the Mara Elephant Project.

But forests, which cover just seven percent of Kenya's land mass, also act as water reserves and a powerful bulwark against climate change and desertification.

Kenya's forests are cleared at a rate of 5,000 hectares (12,300 acres) a year, the environment ministry said in 2018.

- Ancient technique -


Video: Farmers fight back: Making animal feed from a locust plague (Reuters)

For three years, Goss and his team have been giving nature a helping hand by scattering seedballs by any means possible -- on foot, by car and even dropped by helicopter.

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.

Mapping internet shutdowns around the world

  Mapping internet shutdowns around the world In 2020, India topped list of 29 countries that blocked access to the internet despite increased demand during COVID-19.Yet over the course of 2020, 29 countries intentionally shut down or slowed their internet communications at least 155 times, according to a new report published by Access Now, a non-profit digital rights group.

The casing of charcoal dust protects the seed inside from being eaten by mice, birds or insects before it germinates © TONY KARUMBA The casing of charcoal dust protects the seed inside from being eaten by mice, birds or insects before it germinates

"You can throw them out year round. It would sit there, wait for the rain to come, it washes the dust away, and then the seed is back to its natural state, and will be able to start growing," said Teddy Kinyanjui, the co-founder of Seedballs Kenya.

The idea is not entirely new: in ancient Egypt, seeds were coated in mud to protect them from the elements and hungry passersby, Kinyanjui said.

But instead of mud, the innovation in Kenya is using cheap, abundant charcoal dust to forge their own casing.

The dust used to compound the pellets is a byproduct of the charcoal industry, which itself is a driver of deforestation, with felled trees slow-heated in kilns to produce the popular and inexpensive fuel.

"It is kind of a closed loop cycle," Kinyanjui said.

Seedballs only contain indigenous species, mainly varieties of acacias, the classic tree of the East African savannah, but one much sought-after and felled for the quality of its wood.

- Slow and steady -

In Kenya, seedballs are purchased by smallholder farmers wanting a cheap way to green their land and major buyers donating 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds) at a time to groups working in reforestation, like the Mara Elephant Project.

Seedballs Kenya, which reinvests its profits, also works with hotels offering tourists a "reforestation" experience to accompany the traditional safari.

The company has sold 13 million seedballs since launching in mid-2016.

Of those thrown into the wild, only a small number -- somewhere in the five to 10 percent range -- have actually yielded a shoot.

The germination rate is low and some seeds can hibernate for years -- making visible gains long in the making, Kinyanjui said.

"Trees are slow, especially in these days where everything is Instagram and quick quick quick," Kinyanjui said.

"Telling people to wait three years, or whatever, that's a very hard thing."

md/np/fb/dl

Desert country Jordan aims for green with 10-million tree campaign .
On a bare hill in Jordan's verdant Ajloun region, dozens of people plant saplings as part of a reforestation effort that aims to reach 10 million trees in 10 years. "The trees in our region are beautiful," says 11-year-old Mohammed al-Ananza, helping his father Mustafa plant a carob sapling. "It's a real shame that we have lost so many to fires We should work together to protect them," he says as they work near the Kufranjah forest north of the capital Amman.Forests make up only one percent of the desert kingdom's territory, according to the agriculture ministry, though Jordan also has an estimated 23 million orchard trees, half of them olives.

usr: 0
This is interesting!