Role model and a great national and international heroine, Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai 

She became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.

Trees are important icons of sustainable ecosystems of East African Region

East Africa, a region embracing Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar, is one of the richest areas on the African continent in terms of its flora and fauna. This natural wealth is, to a very large extent, the product of the region’s enormous diversity of habitat and climate. Broadly speaking, rainfall is both generous and reliable at the higher altitudes; the air is cool and the vegetation lush. By contrast the lowland areas tend to be hot and dry; the climate is both hot and humid along the coast and in the basins near the big lakes. Climatic and ecological variety creates ideal environments for a great many different species of plants (and, of course, animals and birds).

Indigenous trees and shrubs are part of East Africa’s legacy. Not only are they natural resources and things of beauty to be admired, but also symbols of life. Today much of the forested land has been cleared for agriculture, and to fuel industry. There is an urgent need to cherish what remains, and to try to return at least some of the land to its original, pristine condition.

Trees and traditional medicine

Medicinal plants are an important part of the daily lives, and the cultural heritage, of many East African local communities. The use of plants in the treatment of various diseases, as a specific antidote against magic, and for religious ceremonies, has been an integral element of African society for centuries.

In the sub-Saharan Africa by far the most pressing conservation concern today is the alarming rate at which forests are destroyed for unsustainable logging and charcoal making, clearing land for settlement and cultivation.

Catastrophic habitat loss is threatening the survival of many plants, including timber, fruit, fodder and medicinally important endemic species and also the survival of many birds and wild animals. Already, the disappearance and depletion of medicinal plants across East Africa is impacting severely on the livelihoods and loss of indigenous knowledge of traditional herbalists.

Clearly, there is an urgent need through decisive conservation and protective interventions, that this priceless legacy remains intact for future generations.

—– Wise Quotes from Prof. Wangari Maathai

“Anybody can dig a hole and plant a tree. But make sure it survives. You have to nurture it, you have to water it, you have to keep at it until it becomes rooted so it can take care of itself. There are so many enemies of trees.” – Wangari Maathai”

“You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.”

“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.”

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