Boiyo says the mission to achieve 10 per cent forest cover may fail if communities around forests do not conserve their environment
Vihiga might fail to achieve the 10 per cent forest if encroachment onto indigenous forests persists, Environment chief officer Richard Boiyo has said.
Boiyo said human activity also poses the threat of extinction of indigenous forests.
Vihiga county forests include Kibiru, Kaimosi, Kevugodi and Maragoli Hills.
Boiyo said illegal logging in Kibiru and Kaimosi forests has become rampant.
He said the surrounding communities have invaded the forests and were cutting down trees for charcoal burning.
“Illegal cultivation in those forests has also been on the rise in the recent past. Sand harvesting is also another challenge that has led to so many landslides within Hamisi subcounty,” Boiyo said.
He blamed the encroachment on the increase in population of those living around the forests.
Boiyo cited illegal mining as another contributor to the destruction of indigenous forests.
“Abuse of plantation schemes, unclear forest zones, the introduction of irregular settlements and large-scale public infrastructure developments are part of the problem that destroys these indigenous forests,” he said.
The county has started sensitizing communities around the forests on the importance of conservation.
“We have partnered with financial institutions like Equity Bank and learning institutions like Kaimosi TTC to sensitise locals,” Boiyo said.
He said the county was also fencing other forests to protect them from human encroachment. Funds have been allocated to rehabilitate degraded areas.
"The climate changes we are witnessing are due to human activities within our forests and we can determine the kind of climate we want either by protecting our environment or destroying it,”