African Forest is a holistic agro-forestry social enterprise, founded in 2006, and based on the edge of Soysambu Conservancy, a 22,000 ha ranch surrounding Lake Elmenteita, in the Rift Valley. African Forest has a 60 ha plot on the edge of the ranch, where they have an indigenous organic tree nursery and seed centre and trial plantations of Planet Positive Forestry. They also produce and promote, in conjunction with the local communities, sustainable NTFP’s (non-timber forest products) including herbal medicines. Services include plantation establishment and management, reforestation and sustainable development planning and implementation, as well as assistance in raising green finance.
African Forest’s nursery focuses on indigenous tree species and carries a range of over 80 different species, both as small seedlings and as ceremonial and landscaping trees, up to 3m tall. Larger trees can be grown to order. Stock of seedlings is usually around 150,000, but we have the capacity to produce up to 5 million a season to order. All trees are grown organically using sustainable agricultural techniques.
African Forest has been collecting and selling tree seed for the last 6 years. African Forest is the only company with permission from Kenya Forest service to map and collect tree seed in the gazetted forests in 31 counties, and is setting up and training seed collector CBO’s within the CFA’s, creating sustainable livelihoods for the communities around the forests.
We research develop and produce in conjunction with local communities a wide range of NTFP’s. These currently include medicines, foodstuffs, skincare products, bee products and decorations, and will be extended to include fibres, oils, tannins and dyes.
We utilise a variety of sustainable agricultural techniques within our nursery and forests, including bio-char, vermiculture and use of natural pesticides. We also offer training and establishment services for this.
African Forest offers forest establishment and management services, primarily using its Planet Positive
Forestry methodology, which intercrops indigenous and exotic trees, improving growth rates for all species.
This innovative model allows for rapid re-creation of closed canopy indigenous forest and generates revenues close to those of plantation forestry. Stumps of the exotic trees are dug out to prevent coppicing and used to make charcoal in efficient brick kilns. The generation of NTFP’s in conjunction with this also ensures local communities benefit from the forest, helping to ensure its future security.
African Forest have registered their Planet Positive trademark in Kenya and UK, and can offer certification of organisations investing in Planet Positive forestry and using Planet Positive products, such as our Wildly Good Eco-Friendly Sustainable Charcoal.
The African Forests Trust Fund was established in 2009, as a not for profit arm of African Forest, with the aim of furthering scientific research into agro-forestry and holistic forest management, and to further facilitate the establishment and maintenance of sustainable forests to enable environmental conservation and regeneration. It also aims to further the alleviation of poverty and the education of local communities through the harvesting and production of non-timber forest products, thus ensuring the future security of all forests.
African Forest has been a member of the Total EcoChallenge since its inception, and was a Bronze Award winner in 2008, and a Silver Award winner in 2009. African Forest was a Rufford Small grants for Conservation recipient in 2011. African Forest was recognised in 2012 by GOK and FAO for contribution to food security, and Kenya Mutiso was also recognised personally in 2013. He also received recognition from Nakuru County in 2013 as best in Environmental Conservation in Gilgil.
African Forest has been profiled by Al Jazeera on their Earthrise programme, and was also shown on KTN as being the solution to Kenya’s deforestation problems on MEDEVA TV’s Project Green.