Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

The Spectacular Revival of Euphorbia Tanaensis in Witu Forest.

Ancient Rare Tree that Was Nearly Extinct Finds New Life Through Conservation Efforts

In the heart of Lamu County, a hidden gem of botanical marvels has been given a new lease on life. Meet the Euphorbia Tanaensis, a unique cactus-like plant that calls the Witu Forest Reserve its home. But it wasn’t long ago that this enigmatic species stood on the brink of oblivion, with a mere four mature trees surviving in the 1970s. Today, thanks to the unwavering dedication of the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri) and its collaborative partners, the Euphorbia Tanaensis stands tall once again, flourishing with renewed vitality.

A Remarkable Turnaround

Picture this: a forest where the Euphorbia Tanaensis teetered on the edge of extinction. The narrative, however, has taken a triumphant twist. Through meticulous research, innovative strategies, and a passion for conservation, Kefri has orchestrated a remarkable resurgence of this ancient tree species. Henry Komu, the lead researcher scientist at Kefri, explains that their mission encompassed the development of pioneering propagation technologies. These breakthrough techniques have breathed life into the propagation of Euphorbia Tanaensis, boosting its population and safeguarding it from the abyss of extinction.

A Symphony of Efforts

The symphony of revival doesn’t play in isolation. Diverse stakeholders have joined forces to rewrite the destiny of Euphorbia Tanaensis. From nurturing mature individuals in private botanical gardens to nurturing seedlings in nurseries across various counties, a united front has emerged to protect this botanical treasure. A standout moment in this journey occurred in 2018, with the planting of nursery-raised seedlings in Witu and Kilifi’s Arabuko Sokoke forests. Such actions have been the cornerstones of progress, breathing vitality back into our ecosystems.

Milestones and Momentum

Kefri’s commitment has garnered recognition and support, including grants from the esteemed Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Funds. The saga of Euphorbia Tanaensis continues to unfold as Mr. Komu proudly shares that recent assessments have unveiled the discovery of an additional mature tree, elevating the count of live mature trees in Witu Forest to a total of five. Yet, the journey is not without its challenges. The unwelcome sight of a felled mature tree serves as a stark reminder that preservation efforts remain ever essential.

The Community’s Noble Stewardship

Communities have emerged as the unsung heroes in this tale of conservation. Local residents have rallied in vigilant dedication to ensure that Euphorbia Tanaensis is not relegated to history. Their insights have led to the identification of new locations harboring this rare species. Such profound connections underscore the need for extensive research and documentation, work that has meticulously geo-referenced existing mature trees and surviving seedlings while cataloging their physical attributes.

A Call to Action

Peter Mwangi, the conservator of Kenya Forest Service, resonates with the urgency of awareness. With Witu Forest’s unique landscape as the canvas, there is a clarion call to create community-wide awareness. Collaborating with Community Forest Associations offers a potent mechanism for nurturing this mission. The propagation of Euphorbia Tanaensis by multiplying its stems holds the promise of continued vitality.

Preserving Heritage, Cultivating Awareness

At the heart of the matter lies a critical truth: knowledge is the guardian of conservation. Euphorbia Tanaensis, discovered by the visionary Faraji Bakari Buko, is more than a botanical curiosity; it is a natural treasure with invaluable potential. As the flame of awareness spreads, it brings to light the lesser-known fact that burning dry portions of this tree serves as a natural mosquito repellent—a testament to its hidden gifts.

Embracing Sustainability

With the cacophony of human activities threatening its existence, Euphorbia Tanaensis stands as a sentinel of sustainability. From deforestation to its misuse in medicinal and pesticide practices, this species faces challenges from a rapidly changing world. The clarion call for an ethnobotanical study echoes loudly, promising insights into this plant’s composition and industrial potential. Such knowledge is a torchbearer for sustainable utilization and conservation alike, empowering global policy decisions.

A Tapestry of Hope

In the heart of Witu Forest, Euphorbia Tanaensis threads a tapestry of resilience, dedication, and renewal. From the brink of near-extinction, this ancient species has risen, testament to the power of human spirit, collaborative efforts, and innovative research. The pages of history continue to be rewritten, etching Euphorbia Tanaensis as a symbol of nature’s tenacity, and humanity’s commitment to safeguarding its delicate balance.

The Original Article written By Kalume Kazungu

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