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Kenya’s Pastoralists Pilot an Exemplary Project Highlighted at COP27

When Andrew Dokhole, a community leader in Isiolo, northern Kenya, took on the task of explaining a proposed soil carbon removal project a decade ago, he had to convince largely illiterate people about the benefits of a “foreign” concept. Dokhole had done his research. He understood all the nuances of carbon sequestration – the capturing, removal and storage of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide – so he settled on some vivid illustrations to reach people. The Northern Kenya Rangelands Carbon Project is the world’s first large-scale grasslands soil carbon removal project reliant on modified livestock grazing practices, and the first to work with pastoralists who use communal land resources. The project that began in December 2012 is also the first of its kind to use the new VM0032 methodology focusing entirely on soil carbon removals. The project area of 14 conservancies under the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) is monitored through the remote-sensing Normalized difference vegetation index system, which analyses satellite photos of the Earth’s surface to evaluate plant health and detect how grazing is affecting vegetation. In 2017, the NRT enlisted the services of Native, a carbon trading company to market the carbon credits. Three years later, 3.2m emissions reduction credits covering 2013-2016 were verified, generating $14.6m.