Five of the tea factories owned by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) are working in close collaboration with the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and the Kenya Forestry Service to save the Mau Forest.
The Initiative for Sustainable Landscape (ISLA) is applying principles of environmental conservation to reduce the effects of climate change by encouraging farmers to adopt more sustainable farming practices that both protect the environment long term and also improve productivity on the farms.
In recent years, approximately a quarter of the Mau forest has been lost due to extraction of timber, wood fuel, charcoal and clearance of land for cattle grazing. Further destruction of the forest will exacerbate disruption of rainfall patterns and climate change. The forest area is important for the production of rice and tea and provides smallholders with the opportunity to sell their tea into international markets.
Local communities and tea companies need the water from rivers regulated by the forest and continued tea cultivation is dependent on maintaining a stable local microclimate. The KTDA and other stakeholders recognize that they need to work together to save the forest.