- Reports indicate that forests contributes 3.6 per cent to the GDP.
- KFS Chief Conservator Julius Kamau says forests play a critical role in the provision of goods and services to the country.
The Kenya Forest Service wants the contribution of forest resources to the Gross Domestic Product added.
KFS Chief Conservator Julius Kamau says forests play a critical role in the provision of goods and services to the country.
“We currently have on record that forests contribute to about 3.6 per cent of the GDP and this is only the productive wood,” Kamau says.
KFS manages 6.4 million acres of forests and helps counties manage another 4.2 million acres.
Kamau says all other services and goods provided by forest resources are not valued.
“The contribution, for example, of water conservation, food security, regulating climate, hydropower generation, biodiversity conservation and in supporting tourism sector, manufacturing has not been accounted for,” Kamau says.
The CCF says there must be a total valuation of forest resources and the contribution they make to the economy and other sectors.
“There is an anticipation that if we did the valuation, the contribution would possibly move from 3.6 per cent to the GDP to around 13 per cent. That will be a very big leap, it can now allow KFS to be able to attract funding from the exchequer,” Kamau says.
The CCF says the valuation must be incorporated into the national accounting system so that the system recognises the green accounting that will be conducted within the forest sector.
“It is a priority because if we did that, it would encourage and possibly have more funding to help with the operations of the KFS,” he says.
The government plans to plant 15 billion trees by 2032 at a cost of Sh500 billion.
The move seeks to restore 10.6 million hectares of the degraded landscape for improved biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Forests regulate ecosystems, protect biodiversity, play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods and help drive sustainable growth.
Results generated from the recent National Forest Resources Assessment 2021 indicate that Kenya has 7,180,000.66ha of tree cover, representing 12.13 per cent of the total area.
From the assessment, up to 37 counties out of the 47 (79 per cent) have a tree cover percentage greater than the constitutional set target of 10 per cent.
In addition, the results reveal that the country has a tree cover per capita index of 1,507.48m2.
The findings indicate that the country has 5,226,191.79ha of national forest cover, which represents 8.83 per cent of the total area.
The report shows the distribution of forests and tree cover across the 47 counties.
A study undertaken by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute in 2019 to value ecosystem services provided by the Mau, Cherangany Hills and Mt Elgon forest ecosystems showed that the total economic value of the three ecosystems is about Sh339 billion per annum.
The KEFRI study says Mau, Cherangany and Mt Elgon ecosystems contributed Sh 184billion, Sh 42 billion and Sh 115 billion respectively.
In the three water towers, regulating services contributed the bulk of total economic value with 84 per cent (Mau), 66 per cent (Cherangany) and 93 per cent (Mt Kenya), underscoring the importance of indirect use values in forest ecosystems.
Mau forest ecosystem had the highest regulation value of Sh162 billion followed by Mt Elgon with Sh 109 billion per annum and Cherangany with Sh 30.6 billion.
Provisioning services contributed 10 per cent, 23 per cent and four per cent of the total economic value for Mau, Cherangany and Mt. Elgon respectively.
The KEFRI study says the total economic value estimate is very conservative because it did not encompass all ecosystem service values.