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Forest Service proposes 5,000 Hectares annual felling and reforestation project

The Kenya Forest Service has proposed a plantation forest harvesting plan that will see 5000 hectares of mature exotic trees harvested and an equal number of hectares replanted every year.

They say the plan will be a sustainable management of the forests that will not only ensure the economy is well supplied with its timber needs but will also ensure the trees contribute to the country’s GDP by providing opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment.

A senior Forest Officer with the KFS headquarters Fred Namusinde said in Embu town on Thursday that the service plans to ensure that areas where trees are cut are replanted the following year in a 30-year cycle plan that will ensure the country of a steady supply of timber and wood for fuel.

He said the plantation forests which cover only six percent of the country’s forest cover also serve as an important buffer between communities and the natural forest that must be sustained if we are to conserve the indigenous forest for water conservation.

He was speaking in Embu where the plan was tabled before stakeholders in a public participation forum. The service took the stakeholders through the steps it proposed to take to ensure a balance in the number of trees every year.

He also said communities living around the forests will be involved in the raising of seedlings, and planting them under the Plantation Establishment and Livelihoods Improvement System (PELIS) where they will have an opportunity to grow food crops.

The officials included Wilson Leboo of Head Office and the service’s head of Nyeri Conservancy, Moses Wahome who assured the public that the service has put in measures to ensure forests are not destroyed such as employing more guards.

Representing loggers, Pauline Wangari and Sisto Riungu said they were in complete agreement with the new conditions with Wangari saying the opportunity to harvest trees will restore hope to some of the many youths who spend most of their time idling at local shopping centers drinking cheap brews.

Mrs Dorothy Naitore speaking on behalf of community forest associations said they have strict rules to ensure the trees survive to maturity.

By Steve Gatheru

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