As the world marked Desertification and Drought Day on 17 June 2020, Africa Check revisited a persistent question about the impact of the eucalyptus tree on wetlands. A reader contacted us through WhatsApp asking whether it was true that the tree “drinks water in wetlands and marshy areas like a drunkard drinks alcohol”.
The reader had posed the same question in 2019 through Facebook: “This thing about the eucalyptus tree being bad for wetlands and springs … is it fact or myth? What does the science say?” We promised to check it out.
Eucalyptus refers to a large genus of over 800 species of shrubs and tall trees, native to Australiaand surrounding islands but found worldwide. The law in Kenya prohibits the growing of eucalyptus species in wetlands and riparian areas.
“No agricultural landowner or occupier shall grow or maintain any Eucalyptus species in wetlands and riparian areas,” read the farm forestry rules in the Agriculture Act.
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.