The Kenya Forest Service has impounded over 10, 000 cider posts and timber at Olololpil area in Narok North Sub County that had been collected from private farms without a legal permit.
Speaking in his office on Tuesday, the County Ecosystem Conservator, Mwai Muraguri said according to the Forest Conservation Act, one must get a legal permit from his office through the local chief’s office to be allowed to fell a tree.
He however noted that the government does not allow the cutting of indigenous trees like cider and oak as they take over 50 years to mature, saying the operation to nab those illegally cutting trees would continue.
“The officers were carrying out their normal surveillance when they found out that some people were gathering cider posts for sale in a hideout at Ololopil area. The officers ambushed the illegal dealers and seized the forest produce,” said Mwai.
Unfortunately, according to Mwai, no person was arrested as all those dealing with the illegal forest produce took off when they saw the officers.
“It is unfortunate that the post dealers are shifting to the private farms after we banned any human activities at the Maasai Mau forest. We will however pursue them and arrest them for destroying the forest,” said Mwai.
Mwai said cutting down trees for domestic use like charcoal burning and fencing should be done after consulting with the chief and getting a valid license from his office as per the law.
“We only allow charcoal burning for domestic use but not for sale. Everyone with intention of cutting a tree regardless of whether it is private should notify my office prior to the cutting,” said Mwai.
The officer called on the residents to take advantage of the ongoing rains to plant more trees in their farms to attain the required 10 percent forest cover.
“Trees help in holding soil on to the ground hence prevent soil erosion. Trees area also essential in mitigating mudslides and floods,” said Mwai.
By Ann Salaton