Learn about the value of indigenous trees—and plant one!

Learn about the value of indigenous trees—and plant one!

“This tree grows on one mountain in Malawi and there are hardly any left,” says botanist Mark Nicholson, manager of a remarkable 40-hectare forest near Nairobi, Kenya, planted with over 650 species of indigenous trees and shrubs.

“Almost everything here in the forest, including what are now large trees over 20 metres high, has been planted since 2000, and we’ve seen a big increase in biodiversity,” says Nicholson. “When we first came, all the trees were exotic, non-native species, like cypress, wattle, eucalyptus and pine. We recorded only 35 species of birds. Now that number is up to 187 and in 2015 the colobus monkeys came back after an absence of 80 years. They came back because indigenous trees provide food for them.”

In the lead-up to the International Day of Forests on 21 March, UN Environment is collaborating with Nicholson and his Plants for Life International, a non-governmental organization, to raise awareness of the importance of indigenous trees for local ecosystems. On the day itself, the UN-REDD Programme and Plants for Life will have a stand on the UN compound in Nairobi with hundreds of tree seedlings comprising 12 different species of indigenous trees. UN staff and their families will be encouraged to sponsor tree-planting or take away and plant seedlings in their gardens or school compounds.