Narok County Commissioner Isaac Masinde has raised concern over increasing incidents of logging and charcoal burning that compromise the efforts of expanding forest cover in the county.
Masinde said senior officers and renowned leaders in the society have been arrested and arraigned in court, with some cases still pending in court, for aiding logging in government forests.
The county commissioner warned those with the intention of cutting down trees in government forests that they will be arrested and prosecuted in court.
Masinde spoke at Olposimoru forest in Narok North Sub County during a tree planting event that was attended by Rift Valley Ecosystem Conservator Francis Kariuki and senior security officials from the county.
During the event, over 15, 000 tree seedlings were planted raising the number of seedlings planted this year in the county to 730, 000 seedlings.
Masinde said the county targets to plant over 3 million seedlings this year so as to help achieve the national target of 15 billion trees in ten years as directed by President William Ruto.
“We want to move from 15 percent tree cover in Narok County to 35 percent. We know we can achieve this if we all join hands to grow trees,” he said.
He reiterated that the government is set to fence the entire Maasai Mau in a second phase so as to keep off any human activity in the forest land.
“Already, the government has set up a 30 kilometers solar powered fence on the lower parts of the forest. The exercise will continue to ensure the whole forest is fenced,” he said.
He called on all schools in the county to plant at least 2000 seedlings in their school compounds this year and conserve them to maturity.
The regional forester echoed the commissioner’s sentiments saying there were over 30, 000 logs lying at their office grounds that were seized while being transported illegally from the forest land.
“The office compound in Narok looks like a timber yard. Over 10 vehicles that were impounded transporting the logs are also held in our office,” he said.
He reiterated the danger of cutting down trees noting that it takes over Sh 300, 000 to plant and conserve trees in one hectare.
By Ann Salaton