CONSERVATION

EDITORIAL - New Bill not good for forest protection

Forests provide immeasurable benefits ad must be protected at all costs

In Summary

• While opening up more land for farming is good, there must be a balance between forest cover and arable land.

• Kenya and the world continues to witness adverse effects of climate change occasioned by, among other activities, forest destruction.

Part of the undeveloped 133.9 hectares of Kiambu forest
Part of the undeveloped 133.9 hectares of Kiambu forest
Image: STANLEY NJENGA

A new Bill proposes to take away the powers vested in the Kenya Forest Service to sanction the variation of public forest or their excision.

The Forest Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill 2021 seeks to give a free hand to those agitating to have the boundaries of protected forests reviewed (see page 9).

This will water down the Forest Act 2016 designed to stop the wanton destruction of public forests witnessed in 1990s and 2000s.

Leaders have been pushing for the alienation of Mau Complex, Ngong, Kamiti, Kiambu, Mt Elgon, Embobut, Marmanet, Turbo, Bahati, Chepalungu, Arabel in Mochongoi and Nyangweta forests among others.

They want the landless in their communities settled here. Politicians being who they are will definitely abuse the amendment.

While opening up more land for farming is good, there must be a balance between forest cover and arable land.

Kenya and the world continues to witness adverse effects of climate change occasioned by, among other activities, forest destruction.

The country's forest cover  stands at 7.2 per cent out of a total land area of 56,914 hectares. KFS is targeting a desired level of 10 per cent by end of 2022. 

Forests provide immeasurable benefits ad must be protected at all costs.

We fully support the position taken by the KFS that the proposed changes in the Forest Act are ill intentioned and will erode the little gains made towards re-afforestation.