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The Forest Restoration Ecology faculty-led program sets out to provide students with an understanding of some of the historical and current threats to indigenous vegetation (and biodiversity) in East Africa. It also aims to give a practical guide on how to restore degraded land.

Forest Restoration Ecology

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | Ecology & Conservation Kenya


This program sets out to provide an understanding of some of the historical and current threats to indigenous vegetation (and biodiversity) in East Africa, a practical guide on how to restore degraded land, and an introduction to field-based skills and data collection.

As human populations in East Africa grow and more land is needed for food production, indigenous vegetation is often cleared without clear legislation or incentive to protect it. Diverse indigenous vegetation is often replaced with a monoculture of Eucalyptus, Wattle, and Cypress timber plantations or food-based cash crops. This leads to a steep decline in biodiversity and viable ecosystem services. The Brackenhurst Botanic Garden and Indigenous Forest is a fascinating example of how quickly biodiversity and ecosystem services can be restored on a relatively small piece of land. Combining a high diversity of indigenous plants with a relentless effort to keep invasive species at bay without using chemical herbicides, this indigenous forest has contributed to a sharp, measurable increase in biodiversity and cleaner river water for downstream communities.

Why Limuru?

In Limuru, students will be exposed to a unique Kenyan climate as well as peri-urban Kenyan life – an enriching cultural, societal, and environmental contrast from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi. Students will be based at the Brackenhurst Conference Centre, home to the Brackenhurst Botanical Gardens, where they will be surrounded by a restored African forest. They will have direct access to a successful and ongoing forest restoration project.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to:

  • Apply plant identification and field-based data techniques in the field
  • Demonstrate foundational knowledge of Afro-montane forest species and local plant taxonomy
  • Analyze the theoretical constructs surrounding plant and biodiversity conservation
  • Contextualize the historical and current threats to African tropical forest ecosystems
  • Examine responses to invasive species removal
  • Develop tree nursery care and maintenance skills


Herbert Ongubo at Brackenhurst

Herbert Ongubo

Herbert is the Garden Manager and Curator at Brackenhurst Botanical Gardens. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Analytical Chemistry at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology before going on to work with the Kenyan Forestry Research Institute’s (KFRI) seed department. During his four years at the KFRI, Herbert was also involved with the Seed For Life project in partnership with Kew Gardens in London.

His main area of expertise is indigenous plant propagation. Herbert is also a keen freelance nature photographer.

Galena Woodhouse

Galena was born in Kenya and possesses an Honours Degree (BSc Hons) in Horticulture with Plantsmanship from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Her main area of study was the taxonomy and phylogeny of Dalbergia (African blackwood). Galena is presently completing her Master's in Taxonomy and Biodiversity of Plants at the University of Edinburgh.

She was a resident intern with the Brackenhurst Botanical Gardens in 2018 and has intimate knowledge of the gardens.

Customize Your Program

Our friendly and experienced team will work closely with you to develop your custom faculty-led program from conceptualization to execution. We believe every journey to Africa gives students the opportunity to learn and transform and we pride ourselves in our ability to create unique, sustainable and truly African transformative learning journeys.

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