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ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

State considers lifting ban on logging

Foresters to be trained on independent mapping, verification and valuation of mature forests.

In Summary
  • A 90-day ban was initially imposed on February 24, 2018 and later extended to November 24.
  • On November 24, the government extended the ban again for a year to facilitate reforms in forestry.
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko flags off a clean-up by the Nairobi Metropolitan Service at City Park on the International Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, 2020
CONSERVATION: Environment CS Keriako Tobiko flags off a clean-up by the Nairobi Metropolitan Service at City Park on the International Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, 2020
Image: MERCY MUMO

The ban on logging and extraction of timber in all public and community forests could be lifted soon, the Star has established.

A letter seen by the Star seems to be preparing the ground for lifting of the ban.

In the letter dated June 11 Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau asks heads of conservancies and ecosystem conservators to release foresters to train in Londiani.

 

The foresters, the letter says, are to be trained on independent mapping, verification and valuation of mature forest plantations in the country by a multi-agency team.

“Following the directive of the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry on lifting of the moratorium on forestry logging, one of the conditions was to verify mature and over-mature plantations in Kenya by a multi-agency team,” part of the letter reads.

The CCF said the multi-agency team was formed and held their first virtual meeting on April 8 and has been at work since then.

“The team is now ready to move to the field to start the inventory work of verification of mature and over-mature plantations as from June 15.”

The CCF continued: “It is on this premise that you are informed to release the foresters who have been selected to join the multi-agency team in this noble exercise to travel to Londiani to start the training of undertaking the fieldwork.”

The ban has reportedly cost the government over Sh20 billion in revenue.

A 90-day ban was initially imposed on February 24, 2018 and later extended to November 24.

 

On November 24, the government extended the ban again for a year to facilitate reforms in forestry.

"The pace of implementation of these reforms has been hampered by inadequate institutional capacity and budgetary resource allocation," Environment CS Keriako Tobiko said.

He said the extension would aid in the restoration and rehabilitation of the critical water catchment and natural forest areas currently estimated at 123,553 acres.

"The extension will allow for the replanting of the backlog clear fell plantation areas currently estimated at 76,603 acres with indigenous tree species," he said.

"Further, the extension will allow the scaling up of the ongoing national tree planting campaigns aimed at achieving 10 per cent forest cover by 2022 as directed by the President."

The ministry on February 26, 2018 appointed a task force headed by Green Belt Movement chairperson Marion Wakanyi to carry out investigations on forest resource management and logging activities at Kenya Forest Service.

The task force which handed its report on April 30, 2018, recommended strict enforcement of the ban of charcoal, eviction of illegal of settlers, audit lifestyle of KFS staff and make it mandatory for the county and national governments to participate in national tree planting campaigns.

 

It also asked that the then KFS board be reconstituted, a caretaker team appointed, more rangers trained, and adoption of technology to increase efficiency.

 Edited by Henry Makori