600,000+ tons of CO2 avoided per year
- Location: Kenya
- Developer: Conservation International
- Standards: VCS, CCB
The Chyulu Hills are a volcanic mountain range in south-eastern Kenya and represent a critical ecosystem in a largely water-deficient arid and semi-arid landscape. They are part of the greater Tsavo Conservation area (TCA) and form a critical wildlife corridor between Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks. The area is home both to Maasai pastoralists and Kamba agriculturalists, who have utilized the land for decades. The cloud forest on top of the hills is a unique feature and the landscape provides important ecosystem services to the communities, including water provision, carbon sequestration and storage, ethnomedicinal plants, cultural heritage, and biodiversity as well as climate regulation.
The Chyulu Hills REDD+ Project was developed through a highly effective collaborative process between communities, landowners, public agencies, not for profit organizations and private sector partners. The partner organizations brought their strong commitment to conserving the Chyulu Hills Ecosystem together with an impressive range of skills and knowledge needed to develop and implement a successful and multi-faced conservation project that integrates protection of an iconic ecosystem with supporting the economic and social well-being of local communities.
The primary socioeconomic drivers of deforestation and grassland and woodland conversion in the Chyulu Hills project zone are high levels of poverty and livelihood vulnerability for which primary factors are food insecurity, poor education and healthcare, water scarcity, unsustainable grazing management and farming practices, and climate change related extreme drought and rainfall events.
The Project Partners, working through a consultative process, identifying key threats, applying the theory of change has built on the existing conservation and community support programs that are essential for maintaining carbon stocks and delivering GHG emissions reductions and has identified the following core project activities: forest protection, livestock and range management (including restoration, reforestation and improved agriculture), community engagement and support, and biodiversity conservation and research.
The Chyulu Hills REDD+ project protects 410,000 hectares of forest.
The project is 100% owned and managed by local institutions that either own the land or manage conservation and community programs on behalf of the land-owners. The nine owners include 4 indigenous Maasai community groups, Kenya’s national parks authority (Kenya Wildlife Service), its national forest service (Kenya Forest Service) and three leading Kenyan conservation NGOs, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Big Life Foundation, and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. These organizations have created the Chyulu Hills Conservation Trust, of which they are all Trustees, to own the carbon credits and manage the project.
The project provides new and sustainable livelihood opportunities, through direct employment, alternative income generating activities and investment in small businesses to reduce pressure on the environment. Programs address food insecurity, improve health and education facilities, and raise environmental awareness. Improved monitoring and bolstering of wildlife compensation schemes are utilized to protect the Chyulu Hills ecosystem.