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University of Copenhagen
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Kenya and Copenhagen cooperate to save Mau forest

Climate change and poverty threaten Kenya’s most valuable water source, the Mau forest. University of Copenhagen researchers are helping to find sustainable solutions

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have recently joined forces with Kenyan scientists and an environmental organisation, to create a balance between the need of local people in Kenya and the Mau forest, which is under threat from felling and climate change.

This is according to the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Life Science homepage.

»Kenya will die«

Kenya’s Mau forest supplies water to an areas ten times larger than Denmark, and is the country’s most important water source. Up to a third of the forest area has been cleared in the last ten years due to unregulated felling.

Deforestation is poorly regulated in the East African country, and now climate changes adds to the threat faced by the Mau Forest.

This threat is not to be taken lightly, according to researcher and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, from the University of Nairobi.

»If the Mau forest is destroyed, Kenya will die,« he says.

40 million trees

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have recently started a research project with the Wangari Maathai Institute of Peace and Environmental Studies, at University of Nairobi, and the grass-roots organisation Green Belt Movement.

Green Belt movement has already planted more than 40 million trees in Kenya.

The aim of the collaboration is to find sustainable solutions to the conflicts that threaten the existence of the local population; to create a balance between the need of local people and the forest.

Holistic solutions

»We believe that the research collaboration will make a great diffence to the local population. With the new Wangari Maathai Institute as the driving force, we can work together to create new, useful knowledge about how the vitally important forest and nature areas can best be protected and managed,« says senior advisor Peter Furu from the Faculty of Life Sciences.

»Through an applied, interdisciplinary approach to difficult problems, involving people, the environment and poverty, we will work on holistic solutions and improve the health of both the local population and the forest ecosystems,« he adds.