THE NAIROBI GREENLINE

This programme started as a collaboration with an initiative of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and Kenya Wildlife Service, in 2009. The objective was to establish a protective border between Nairobi National Park and Industrial Area alongside Mombasa road.Despite its relatively small size (110km2 or 11,000ha), this park has an extraordinary richness in animal species, with lions, cheetahs, rhinos, buffalos and leopards. It is also home to the world-famous Elephant Orphanage, where young orphaned elephants get nursed back into health after the traumatic experience of poacher attacks.

Concretely this meant a protective corridor of 25km long and 50m wide alongside the north-eastern border of the park. This translated into the planting of approximately 250,000 seedlings of indigenous tree species, mostly acacias (Acacia nilotica, A. xanthophloeia, A. seyal, A. elatior, A. kirkii etc).

To achieve this, the area was enclosed with an electric fence, a borehole was drilled, a nursery established and an access road created. BGF provided the technical expertise, including assistance in the recruitment and follow-up of technical staff.

Fund drives were held, and numerous institutions, companies and institutions supported the initiative. The single biggest contributor was the Safaricom Foundation. Schools of poor neighbourhoods were encouraged to visit the park and assisted with tree planting in their compounds.

Technical challenges included maintenance problems of the electrical fence, destruction of tree seedlings by buffaloes and other wildlife, but these were all manageable. On the contrary, some development initiatives proved to be quite detrimental to the planted area. These included doubling of the oil pipeline passing through stretches of the GreenLine, creation of a trench to bury high-voltage electrical cables, the building of the Eastern By-pass around Nairobi city, and last but not least, the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway. At least half of the achievements in tree planting were gone, to the “greater benefit” of the nation. Despite having the environmental brotherhood mobilised and up in arms against these attacks on a beautiful national park, resistance to these developments was to no avail.

Nevertheless, a lot of people came into contact with nature, planted trees and enjoyed the experience. And the saga is not over yet. More tree planting might follow, to restore what was destroyed.

THE NAIROBI GREENLINE GALLERY