• The fencing of community forests will help preserve indigenous tree species, which are vanishing fast
• Saisi says the mess in Mau was caused by the government's failure to guard the forest from human encroachment
Forty-eight community-based forests in Vihiga county will be fenced between 2019-21 to prevent human encroachment, Deputy Governor Patrick Saisi has said.
The project is part of the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Rhino Ark Charitable Trust's move to provide solutions to problems facing the forest ecosystem.
Saisi yesterday said fencing of community forests would help preserve indigenous tree species, which are vanishing fast.
Deputy Governor Patrick Saisi spoke to journalists at the county headquarters.
“There are some local species that the county wants to preserve as they play a crucial role in the traditional circumcision among the Tiriki community,” he said.
Saisi said most community forests in Hamisi subcounty are under threat of human invasion.
“Majority of our people have invaded forests with farming activities. If that is not curbed as early as now, then we are likely to lead our community to a total mess in the near future,” he said.
Saisi said the mess in Mau was caused by the government's failure to guard the forest from human encroachment.
Environment executive Mwenje Inonda told the Star on the phone that a technical team is mapping community forests before the fencing starts.
He said the county is also educating communities bordering the forests on the importance of protecting forests.
“We are using the Geospatial Information System (GIS) to ensure we do not interfere with community farms near forests,” Inonda said.
The county is also in the process of reviving the Maragoli forest that was invaded by communities.
Inonda told the Star the county has planted 10,000 seedlings as part of reclaiming the forest and is targeting to plant more.
"Funding is the only challenge we are facing, but we are in this project. We are trying our best to get external donors," Inonda said.