, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 – The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Mau forest Interim Coordinating Secretariat (ICS) are now calling on organisations to adopt certain forest blocs for re-forestation.
KFS Director David Mbugua said on Thursday that this would boost the governments’ efforts of conserving and protecting forests.
“The idea of adopting a bloc is more important to us because often time we think that forest conservation includes only tree planting but there is more to tree planting – there is care, husbandry, which takes a bit of time before you actually start seeing forests developing,” Mr Mbugua said.
He said the Mau forest had been subdivided into 22 blocs, five of which had been identified to be adopted by various organisations and government Ministries.
KFS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Africa Wildlife Foundation which has adopted 5,400 hectares and Malaika Ecotourism which has taken up care of 138 hectares of the Southern Mau forest near Narok.
“Adoption of the forest blocs will include follow up action to ensure the trees are well nurtured,” he said.
Mr Mbugua said the Ministry of Energy was expected to adopt 19,000 hectares of the part of the forest that is a source of the Sondu Miriu River while the Ministry of Defence was expected to take up 1,000 hectares.
“The contracts will last for at least three years to ensure the seedlings are sustained,” he said.
The ICS Chairman Noor Hassan Noor said they were currently in the third phase of the restoration programme which entailed securing 20,000 hectares of the Maasai Mau forest.
“In the next two weeks, we will be analysing the data that has been collected from the profiling exercise which is being edited now and after that we shall be able to understand who are in Maasai Mau and advise the government,” he said.
“And then after that this process of Maasai Mau may take us until the end of the year because it will involve not only analysing data but also looking at the liability aspect of it,” he added.
After that there would be relocation of the 2,000 families that inhabit that part of the forest.
He said that in this third phase they were also dealing with the 2001 excision where the government allocated 61,000 hectares of the Mau forest to individuals.
The Chairman could not state, however, the amount required for the exercise saying that “the figure given to the ministry of finance was too speculative.”
He said the final figure would be reached at after they were through with the analysis of data and hoped treasury would allocate the required funds in the June budget.
Mr Noor said 23,000 hectares of the Mau forest had already been secured out of the targeted 120,000 hectares of the forest land.