Despite the efforts conservationists trying to protect and conserve indigenous plant and animal life in Eastern Africa, the destruction of natural habitats is continuing. In many cases this destruction leaves behind degraded sites which require replacement of lost elements of the original ecosystem. Habitat restoration techniques can now be employed to repair damage to the diversity and dynamics of original ecosystem processes that sustain life on earth. The need for habitats restoration is one of the key areas of activities recommended in the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Habitat Restoration Initiative (HARI) was initiated by a group of scientists in East Africa concerned with the fate of land and its valuable biological resources, which are vital for economic growth and development of the region. HARI was initiated on December 2, 1998, and became a committee of the East Africa Natural History Society on June 14th, 2000. The Secretariat is based at the Nature Kenya office at the National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi. Later two branches will be opened in Uganda and Tanzania.
This programme maintains the following goals:
- Enhance biodiversity conservation through the restoration of degraded habitats and through species re-introductions in the Eastern Africa region
- Assess, plan, implement and monitor HARI's projects in the Eastern Africa region
- Promote networking, collaborative partnership, raising of awareness, information dissemination and capacity building on habitat restoration
Primary activities include the following:
- Networking with NGO's, government organisations, local communities, institutions and individuals interested in habitat restoration
- Conducting and promoting restoration projects through research, planning and implementation
- Establishment of an information centre on restoration
- Degraded habitats especially in water catchments,centres of endemism, biodiversity hot spots, sites with rare or threatened species, abandoned quarries, mines and construction sites in Eastern Africa