Oloolua forest volunteer scouts have benefited from a donation of four mountain bikes and four walkie talkies through a community sponsored initiative by private bikers from the Oloolua Forest Community Association to enhance patrol in the forest.
According to Kenya Forest Services Ngong station manager Francis Kariuki, community involvement in management of the forest plays a crucial role in conservation efforts.
He lauded the conservation efforts of the volunteer scouts citing their contribution to the decline of illicit waste disposal in Oloolua forest.
“Initially there were incidences of illegal waste disposal in the forest but the community realised that offenders were being apprehended and the incidences reduced. This is largely as a result of the efforts from the community scout volunteers who have played an integral role in conserving the forest by being our eyes and ears on the ground,” said Kariuki.
Kariuki has emphasized the importance of the community involvement in sustainable utilisation of the forest through a community forest association to reap economic benefits from the valuable forest resource.
The chairman of Oloolua Forest Association Charles Muriithi, has called for multi-agency cooperation through the collaboration of environmental government and non-governmental stakeholders in environmental conservation efforts.
“Community participation and collaboration is necessary for the successful conservation and management of Oloolua forest. The forest has economically benefited forest user groups through establishment of tree nurseries, ecotourism, beekeeping and regulated firewood collection,” said Muriithi.
Oloolua forest has twelve volunteer scouts recruited from the twelve forest user groups in the forest. The user groups have helped in reclaiming areas that had been destroyed by deforestation through the establishment of over six tree nurseries.
By Amy Moyi