The Star: Moi is wrong on tea estates

RETIRED President Moi said yesterday that replacing forests with tea estates does not impact on climate change. Moi is just plain wrong.

You cannot compare a tea estate with a 100-foot high forest with at least 50 times as many leaves, all absorbing carbon and emitting oxygen during photosynthesis.

The argument that there are other tea estates is also fallacious. Most Kenyan farmland would have been forest or woodland 200 years ago but no-one says this should all be returned to nature. However, gazetted forests like the Mau should be sacrosanct.

Moi should remember that Mau is not the only forest being destroyed in the world. Many forests, including the Amazon and Congo, globally are rapidly vanishing.

The destruction of the Mau is part of a worldwide process that has to be reversed.

Moreover, the Mau is Kenya's largest water tower, providing half the country's hydropower and rivers to half the country.

Even if there was no drought, Kenya needs the Mau Forest to store rainfall and release it evenly during the dry season.

Moi has been in politics for 50 years and we should respect his experience. But he is wrong on the Mau. It needs to be fully restored.

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