Forestry Journal:

This piece is an extract from our latest Forestry Latest News newsletter, which is emailed out at 4PM every Friday with a round-up of the week's top stories. 

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IN these days of war, political strife, and financial worry, it's good to take some time to reflect on some nicer news for a change. 

Earlier this month, Kenyans were given a special public holiday to plant 100 million trees as part of the government's goal to plant 15 billion trees in 10 years.

The holiday allowed "each and every Kenyan to own the initiative", according to Environment Minister Soipan Tuya, with locals encouraged to put at least two seedlings in the ground. 


“Conservation of the environment is the urgent and collective responsibility of our time,” the Kenyan president, William Ruto, who launched tree-growing activities in Makueni county in eastern Kenya, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

And who could argue with that? 

Some may point out that this is simply than a short-term, quick-fix solution (and one that ultimately led to lots of good press), but there are signs that this is something more. 

The Kenyan government later announced plans to plant a few hundred million more saplings before the end of the short rainy season in December, and launched an app called JazaMiti (Swahili for “fill with trees”) where users can document their planting activity and find real-time updates on nationwide tree-planting efforts. 

The app contains information on dates of reforestation efforts, the regions they are taking place, tree nurseries nearby and the individuals, organisations or government bodies involved. It also helps users select the tree species suited to their location.

Forestry Journal: The UK failed to hit even 50 per cent of its own annual tree-planting target last yearThe UK failed to hit even 50 per cent of its own annual tree-planting target last year (Image: Getty Images)

If we were to add one caveat to the praise, it would be that there is no obvious news on how the trees will be cared for to ensure they reach adulthood, and thrive long after that. This is, after all, one of the current bugbears of the British forestry/tree care industry

The UK has enjoyed its own share state-led, successful tree-planting initiatives, such as the recent Queen's Green Canopy to mark the Platinum Jubilee or the upcoming National Tree Week.

But at a time when we are failing to hit even a fraction of our tree-planting target, maybe we should be looking to Kenya for inspiration and declaring an official public holiday? 

It would certainly do much to aid the faltering popularity of those in Downing Street among foresters.