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2012-03-03
Great news – Dakatcha Woodland in Kenya saved.


The Dakatcha Woodland in Kenya is home to several globally threatened bird species. This beautiful forestwould have been destroyed if proposals for a plantation of the biofuel crop Jatropha were given the green light. After a long battle the Kenyan government has formally recognised the environmental damage that would be caused by this European project.

The RSPB and Nature Kenya, who have been campaigning against the proposals since 2009, have hailed the news as a victory for wildlife and the climate. The forest is one of only two places in the world where the endangered Clarke's Weaver is found and holds a substantial proportion of the global population of Sokoke Pipits. It is also home to the beautiful and threatened Fischer's Turaco.

Clearing the forest would have made thousands of local people homeless, led to water shortages and meant the loss of sacred ancestral land.

Dakatcha is by no means the only wildlife site under threat from biofuel plantations. Elsewhere in Kenya the Tana River Delta faces a similar threat. The area, a vast floodplain ecosystem of seasonally flooded grassland, swamps, riverine forest, lakes and mangroves, provides refuge for 350 species of birds as well as primates, hippopotamuses and crocodiles.

Much of the biofuel proposed for production in Kenya is destined for Europe because of a European Union target for biofuels. The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) requires 10% of transport fuels to be renewable by 2020 and the UK, like most other member states, plans to meet its target mostly through biofuels.


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