The Kenya Forest Services (KFS) is seeking to recruit 3,000 forest rangers to boost its human resource capital ahead of the lifting of the logging ban moratorium announced by the government in 2018.
KFS board chairman Peter Kinyua said that at least 11,000 forest rangers were needed to bridge the human resource gap and replace those who had left the service through natural attrition.
“Most of our 4,000 staff are aged and about to retire and that’s why we’re are seeking to inject fresh blood into the service by recruiting more rangers to man our country’s forests and help in our conservation efforts as we seek to restore the cover to at least 10 percent,” Kinyua said.
Speaking yesterday after witnessing the elections of Mukogodo Community Forest Association (CFA) officials in Laikipia County, Kinyua added that the lifting of the timber harvesting moratorium was pegged on the capability of the service to effectively conserve forests in the country and therefore the urgent need to increase its workforce.
“The logging moratorium imposed will definitely see increased forest cover in the next few years and this will require more expertise in management thus the need for more rangers and scouts,” Kinyua added.
The KFS board chair further said that the service was geared to making sure that all the 255 CFAs across the country are professionally run by skilled and committed leaders in order for forest edge communities to fully benefit from their closeness to the natural resources and thus be champions in conservation.
During the CFA elections, Wilfred Mejoole was elected chairman replacing long-serving Tema Karmushu. The elected officials will be in the office for three years.
The government first declared a moratorium on timber harvesting on February 24, 2018, Deputy President William Ruto announced at the time that logging activities will stand suspended for three months.
Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, following the declaration of a three-month moratorium at the time, gazetted a taskforce on February 26 headed by Green Belt Movement Chairperson Marion Wakanyi to review forestry management in the country.
The initial three-month moratorium was later extended by another six months and in November 2018, Tobiko declared a further extension by a year to facilitate reforms recommended by the Wakanyi-led taskforce.
By Martin Munyi