Human activities have emerged as the major impediment to efforts towards protecting forest cover in Meru County.
According to area County Conservator, John Njoroge, all players entrusted with the task of protecting the forest and other gazetted areas have been asked to intensify surveillance to control movements in the forest.
Njoroge said some people had found business in forest products where they engage forest guards in a hide and seek game as they harvest trees for commercial purposes, including extensive charcoal burning in some areas.
He said the forest was more vulnerable to fires especially during the prevailing dry spell adding that the surveillance team had incorporated security personnel from the Ministry of Interior to ensure all forest invaders were dealt.
The Conservator said protection of the general forest cover was a collective responsibility since everybody enjoys the benefits of protected and conserved forests.
Njoroge said nobody would be allowed to encroach into the forest under the guise of searching for firewood for domestic use saying many of the invaders had been approaching the office as innocent housewives in need of firewood but the same people end up selling firewood to local hotel operators.
He commended Meru County residents for positively heeding to the call to plant trees in learning institutions, churches and along the main highways during the October- December wet period.
“The many trees planted during the last wet period will double in as a source of fresh air along with becoming a beautification activity along the roads and towns which gives the whole area a face lift,” Njoroge said.
He further said the tree planting programme was continuous until a time when the larger Meru County registered the recommended forest cover as per the International standards.
By Makaa Margaret