Community Forest Associations (CFA) are playing a key role in helping Government efforts in conservation and management of forests.
According to the Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has established 256 Community Forest Associations across the country, with an estimated membership of over 3 million people.
He said the CFA’s help plant trees and in exchange use the forests sustainably to generate income and improve their livelihoods hence easing pressure on forest areas.
“The Forest Management Act 2016 provides core management of trees with adjacent communities under the participatory forum management model, by sustainably utilizing the forests for other use rights and on the other hand complimenting KFS efforts in conserving the forests,” he said.
Kamau noted that most of the Government gazetted forests are now safe due to the strengthened relationship between the adjacent communities and KFS.
“The CFA‘s are a key element in forest conservation and management as they are formed by communities that live adjacent to the government gazetted forests,” he added.
Kamau was speaking in Kakamega during a tree planting exercise at some of the degraded sections of the Kakamega forest presided over by First Lady Rachel Ruto.
Cabinet Secretary Environment and Forestry Soipan Tuya urged Kenyans to aspire to achieve 10 per cent forest cover by 2032 from the current 8.83 per cent.
“Kenya also aspires to increase tree cover from 12.13 per cent to 30 per cent by the year 2032,and this means planting 5 billion trees, equivalent to 10.6 million hectares and 15 billion seedlings “, she added.
She said KFS manages 2.6 million hectares of government gazetted forests, another 1.6milllion hectares of community forests co-managed by county governments and communities.
She hailed Kakamega Governor Fernandez Baraza for committing 100 million shillings towards the electric fencing of the 117 kilometre of Kakamega forest, a venture she observed is also being supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Rhino Ark, among others.
By George Kaiga