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Project January 12, 2024

Poverty and Desperation as Deforestation Drives Unprecedented Droughts



Kenya is recovering from a five-year drought that has left in its wake death and loss. The 2019-2023 drought was the third of its kind in a decade and the worst in 40 years.

At the same time, the country has also lost vast amounts of forest cover since independence and particularly over the past two decades. Between 2002 and 2022, Kenya lost 50.7kha of humid primary forest, a 7.8% reduction of total area of humid primary forest. For a country dependent on rain-fed agriculture, could it be that they have for years been cutting down their very source of survival?

In this story we investigate and show the correlation between forest loss and recurrent prolonged drought or extreme weather conditions. We provide evidence that the arid and semi-arid lands in particular will lose their ecological capacity unless deforestation is addressed urgently in Kenya.