The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in collaboration with the Community Forest Association are developing a Participatory Forest Management Plan (PFMP) that will enhance sustainable management of Oloolua forest.
This will be achieved through the provision of a guideline on the conservation and sustainable management of Oloolua forest.
The Kenya Forest Service Ngong Station Manager, Francis Kariuki, said that the PFMP will provide creative ways of utilizing Oloolua Forest for the economic benefit of the communities residing around the forest while still conserving it.
“It is important to conserve Oloolua Forest because it is one of the few remaining green spaces around Nairobi. Oloolua played a huge role in the development of Nairobi because of quarrying activities conducted in the forest to supply stones to Nairobi and the impact on the forest can still be felt today,” said Kariuki.
According to the Community Forest Association Chairman, Christopher Muriithi, community involvement is critical for the success of the creation and implementation of the PFMP.
“We want to map out the resources that are in Oloolua Forest as well as create a road map for better use and conservation of the forest. We would like the involvement of the community residing around this forest in the PFMP process because we have realized that if the community does not own the process our efforts will be futile,” added Muriithi.
Oloolua Senior Chief Moses Mpesha, said that Oloolua Forest used to be a sanctuary for wild animals during drought, but the river has become polluted and is no longer safe for consumption as witnessed from the death of hyenas and antelopes on the river banks.
Mpesha stated that the KFS, CFA and Area Chiefs are conducting barazas in the areas of Karen, Embulbul, Oloolua, Olkeri, Merisho and Gataka that neighbors the forest, to collect views from members of the public and elect representatives for future workshops towards the creation of the PFMP.
Oloolua Forest has experienced challenges of encroachment, dumping of waste and destruction through logging because of its close proximity to urban centres. The PFMP is expected to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for communities residing around the forest through tree nurseries, eco-tourism and beekeeping activities.
The development of PFMP process is expected to take between three and six months for completion.
By Amy Moyi