Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Emali Diary Part I (Day 1- Day 7) : By Officer Recruit Benjamin Kinyili (Manager, Nyandarua Forest Zone)

Day 1: Sunday 7th /2/2010:
The 35 participants assembled at Kenya Forest Service Headquarters at 9.00 a.m were issued with uniforms by the Quarter Master – Inspector Namagwa who accompanied them to APSSTC – Emali for handing over to the Commanding Officer (CO).

The participants were welcomed by Commandant KFS – Rtd Col John Kimani at 9.30 a.m who called out the names and made sure that all participants were present. He encouraged us and told us to take it positively and be psychologically prepared to surmount the monumental tasks ahead of us at Emali. Charity Munyasya was given the opportunity to lead with a word of prayer which she was assisted by Pastor Musau. After seeking journey mercies and spiritual protection, we were on our way.

Looking around I noticed down cast faces of the participants as they boarded the two buses. They must have been worrying about the unfamiliar destination they were headed to. Apart from the Assistant Commandants and a few officers who passed through NYS in the 80s, the rest had anxiety written all over their faces.

We left Karura at 10.00 and had a stopover at City Cabanas to pick some participants and do some shopping at Uchumi and Nakumatt Supermarkets thereafter we were on the way to Emali Town.

We arrived at Senior Staff College at 2.00 p.m and received by the able Commanding Officer who provided very encouraging welcome. He made the course outline sound like fun and exciting. The survival tactics we will learn here will help to mould better officers who can transform forestry and face the challenges of 21st century. We will further be confident officers who should enhance the image of KFS.

After a sumptuous lunch was served at the officer’s mess, we observed the mess etiquette and protocol of leaving the caps/hats outside and being properly dressed.
A quick inspection was conducted and participants with long hair, and beards were sent to Emali Town to visit a barber, then the rest of the team did their final shopping after being shown the accommodation where two participants shared a room in self contained houses with two rooms (for four participants), a lounge and kitchen balcony.

One of the participants was elected as the Group’s Chairman for the course’s duration. This responsibility befell Mr.Cosmas Ikiugu – HOC Mau.

Day 2: Monday 8/2/10
The day started at high note with physical fitness exercises having woken up at 4.45 p.m so as to assemble at drill grounds at 5.00 p.m to start morning runs all the way to Mombasa-Nairobi highway and back to the drill ground.

At 6.00 a.m the participants were allowed to clean, and prepare for breakfast which was served at 7.00 a.m.

At 8.00 a.m we were taken through orientation of the College. We were shown the Hostels, staff houses, borehole, main offices, drill ground, lecture rooms and general view of the college. We started lectures at 10.00 a.m with field craft and tactics followed by introduction to the laws of Kenya Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), Penal Code, Arresting search and Prosecution. The Lectures were very interesting and exciting.

Day 3: Tuesday 9/2/10
- Physical fitness – 5.00 p.m
- Breakfast – 7.00 a.m
- Drill 8.00 a.m
- Lectures 10.30 a.m to 3.00 p.m
- Physical fitness assessment test
- Press – ups, sit-ups and 3.2 km run which were to assess each individual’s physical fitness in comparison to age and health

Day 4: Wednesday 10/2/10
- Physical Fitness – 5.00 a.m
- Breakfast – 7.00 a.m
- Muster parade – 8.00 a.m.
- Lectures at 9.00 a.m
- Official opening by Senior Deputy Director KFS – Mr. Emilio Mugo, DD – HR Mr. Julius Olayo, Mr. Wellington Amkaya, Head Communication – Mr Raphael Mworia.
Dedication, discipline, commitment and endurance were emphasized as necessary to make uniformed and disciplined officer.

This was followed by a presentation on field craft and tactics. The long standing co-operation between the APTC and Kenya Forest Service was commended. The day was graced by two most distinguished guests which up-lifted the spirit of the participants.

Day 5: Thursday 11/02/10 and Day 6: Friday 12/02/10
These two days were most impressive for the Officers had gotten used to the early waking up and morning runs. The pains on the aching muscles had subsided and they fitted well in the drills, parades and saluting. They could march as uniformed and disciplined officers with ease. They vowed if forgoing and sacrificing their comfort for the well being of the forests in Kenya was the price they had to pay, they were ready. You could see how eager, energetic and enthusiasm flowed in them as they marched and saluted, no doubt ready to conserve our forests. We were ready to execute our duties with a bang and completely transform the forest sector.

Day 7: Saturday 13/02/10

This was the icing of the cake, with Officers making history in their own Guinness Book of Record by doing a route-match of 35 Kms around the College from Emali through Kajiado District- Mashuru Division and visiting Nkoso Primary School where the officers noted lack of trees for beauty (authentic), shade, windbreak and pledged to go back for a serious campaign on tree planting whereby each pupil will adopt a seedling. We crossed the Kenya Pipeline, the Mombasa-Nairobi road then the railway which is the boundary between Rift Valley Province, Kajiado District and Eastern Province, new District and penetrated inside to Ithunja Hill and finally came back through Simba Town Centre to.

Friday, February 26, 2010

High Charcoal demand threatens forests

Report by Yussuf Maleli, VoicesofAfrica mobile reporter in Kibwezi, Kenya
Posted on Thursday 25 February 2010 - 11:05

The recent years in Kibwezi, eastern Kenya have witnessed an increase in the consumption of charcoal. The consequence has been twofold: the charcoal trade booms while the forests loses more and more ground.
The increase started to be observed in the 1970s when the area was attracting more migrants. Then was Kibwezi called called Ngwata a local term which means to posses. Land acquisition by the new settlers was done in anarchy in the absence of the authority, which justifies the destruction of the forest.

‘The business now is good because we are buying a bag at Ksh 350 and sell at Ksh 400; this is because the demand is high’, say Mr. Benjamin Mutuku a charcoal broker in the town of Kibwezi.

‘I, as a resident of this town, use charcoal because as we know firewood is not available, other fuels like paraffin are expensive’ , says another resident, adding: ‘We are aware that charcoal destroys trees but we don't have alternatives’ .

The most worrying problem now is that deforestation is nearing the Cyulluh National Park and Tsavo east National Park where a few bushfires have been recorded. Concerted efforts by the government and conservation agencies have tried to reverse the effect by banning charcoal and encouraging tree planting within communities, but this is showing little effect in the light of this looming danger. An alternative is needed. Quickly.

Forestry In The News on Friday, February 26, 2010

• The People Daily-Page 11, an article with the title –“Africa ‘may lose out on Kyoto protocol’ ;page 17-“Govt releases Shs 500m to revive Pan Paper”
• Daily Nation-Page 13’an article with the title-“Firms seek to increase carbon trade benefits”
• EA Standard-Page 7 an article with the title –“KWS wins battle against project in park”;page 8 an article with the title-“Revival of Pan Paper to cost Sh500 Million” and page 12 an article with the title-“State to enter multi-million shilling carbon market”
• The Star- Page an article with the title-“Sh500 million to resurrect Pan Paper Mills”;page 8 an article with the title-“Lets predict rain together, weatherman tells farmers”
• Business Daily-Page 20 an article with the title-“Nairobi to host Africa carbon trading meeting”
• Kenya Times –page 5 an article with the title –“Govt to sink Sh 0.5 into Pan Paper”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Forestry In The News on Thursday and Wednesday February 24th & 25th , 2010

• The People Daily-Page 13,The Environment magazine- an article with the title –“The Legendary Maasai indigenous forest”
• Daily Nation-Page 13,The Cutting Edge by The Watchman- A comment on the fencing of the Aberdare range by KWS official ;another comment by Kimutai Rop on the felling of trees along Ngong Road
• Daily Nation – Page 1,2 Horizons, an article with the title-“Africa’s forests get big hearing in Nairobi”
• EA Standard-Page 4 an article with the title -“No end in sight to woes of Mau Forest evictees”
• The Star- Page 2 an article with the title-“Mau big fish eviction in April”

• Kenya Times Page 5 an article with the title –“KWS officers arrest 2 with Sandal wood” and another with the title “ Group donates food to Mau settlers”
• The People Daily-Page 3 an article with the title –“Mau restoration :US pledges funds”
• Daily Nation-Page 13,The Cutting Edge by The Watchman- A comment on the fencing of the Aberdares by Mohamed Hersi

KWS recommends Kakamega Forest for World Heritage Site

The Kenya Wildlife Service has submitted a request for Kakamega Forest to be considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Submission dated 12/02/2010 and Ref.5508 uses the natural criteria that the forest contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance; has outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals and contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

The forest qualifies since it meets at least three of the ten selection criteria (vii, ix and x). The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.

Kenya has four sites already recognized as World Heritage Site. Two are cultural and two are natural. They are Lamu Old Town (2001), Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests (2008) for cultural and Lake Turkana National Parks (1997) ,Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest (1997) for natural.

Another seventeen sites including Kakamega Forest are under consideration.
Properties submitted on the Tentative List
• Mombasa Old Town (1997)
• Fort Jesus (1997)
• Lake Nakuru National Park (1999)
• Lake Naivasha (1999)
• Lake Bogoria National Reserve (1999)
• The Mijikenda Sacred Kaya Forests and groves (1999)
• Great Rift Valley Ecosystem (2001)
• The Historic Town of Gedi (2010)
• The Mfangano-Rusinga Island Complex (2010)
• The African Great Rift Valley - The Marakwet Escarpment Furrow Irrigation System (2010)
• The Thimlich Ohinga Cultural Landscape (2010)
• The African Great Rift Valley - Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site (2010)
• The Kakemega Forest (2010)
• The Meru Conservation Area (2010)
• The Great Rift Valley - The Kenya Lakes System (2010)
• The Tana Delta and Forests Complex (2010)
• Tsavo Parks and Chyulu Hills Complex (2010)

Kakamega Forest:

Kakamega Forest is a mid-altitude tropical rainforest, the easternmost outlier of the Congo Basin forests. Its West African affinities are unique in Kenya, and the forest contains many species found nowhere else in the country. The forest lies in the Lake Victoria catchment, about 40 km north of Kisumu, and just east of the Nandi Escarpment that forms the edge of the central highlands.

Kakamega forest was first gazetted as Trust Forest in 1933, and two small Nature Reserves, Yala and Isecheno (totaling about 700 ha), were established within the Forest Reserve in 1967. In 1986, nearly 4,000 hectares of the northern portion of the forest, along with the adjacent 457 hectares Kisere Forest, were gazetted as a National Park, Kakamega Forest is an important catchment; the Isiukhu and Yala Rivers flow through the forest and gather tributaries from it. The terrain is undulating, with often steep-sided river valleys. The soils are well-drained, deep, heavily leached clay-loams and clays, of generally low fertility. Rainfall is approximately 2,001mm per year, decreasing from south to north, and apparently declining due to deforestation.

Wildlife in the area
The forest holds large populations of Black-and-white Colobus (Colobus guereza) and Red-tailed Monkey (Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti), and small number of de brazza Monkey (Cercopithecus neglectus). Several West African forest mammals occur, such as Potto (Perodicticus potto), Giant Otter Shrew (Potamogale velox) and Lord Derby's Anomalure (Anomalurus derbianus). The small mammal community is also very rich and shows strong affinities to the Zaire basin. At least 28 snake species are recorded, including the rare Gold's Cobra (Pseudohaje goldii) and other West African species such as the Barred Green Snake (Philothamnus heterodermus carinatus), Black-lined Green Snake (Hapsidophrys lineata), Jameson's Mamba (Dendroaspis jamesoni kaimosae), Green Bush-viper (Atheris squamiger squamiger), Prickly Bush-viper (Atheris hispida) and Rhinoceros-horned Viper (Bitis nasicornis) (Spawls 1978). Two notable and probably endangered forest amphibians, Leptopelis modestusand Hyperolius lateralis, are recorded (Duff-MacKay 1980). The forest's butterfly fauna is very diverse and important, both regionally and continentally; around 350 species are thought to occur, including at least one endemic species, Metisella kakamega, and a near-endemic,Euphaedra rex (Larsen 1991).

Kakamega's avifauna is unique not nationally, but continentally. Several species have isolated, relict populations here, including Ansorge's (Greenbul, Blue-headed Bee-eater, Chapin's Flycatcher and Turner's Eremomela, which are absent from all or nearly all of the superficially similar mid-elevation forests in Uganda. Chapin's Flycatcher is a restricted-range species characterizes the Kakamega and Nandi Forests Secondary Area, and is also present in the Albertine Rift Mountains Endemic Bird Area. The presence of the eremomela indicates biogeographic links to the Eastern Zaire Lowlands Endemic Bird Area. Kakamega itself has few endemic taxa; among birds, there is an endemic sub-species (kavirondensis) of Ansorge's Greenbul. At least 16 bird species occur in Kakamega but nowhere else in Kenya, and another 30 (such as the Grey Parrot) are probably now confined to this site. The grassy glades have their own distinctive avifauna, with many moist-grassland species that are now rare elsewhere in western Kenya.

Kakamega has a rich diversity of trees, with common genera including Croton, Celtis, Trema, Antiaris, Bequaertiodendron and Zanthoxylum (Beentje 1990). Endemism is low, however, the only woody endemic being the liana Tiliacora kenyensis.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
(vii), (ix) and (x): Kakamega forest has a unique presentation of avifauna with 16 species of bird found only here in Kenya; it is an important and significant natural habitat for conservation of avifauna as it currently provides a habitat for the highest number of forest-dependant bird species in Kenya. The undulating terrain with steep sided river valleys gives the forest its exceptional natural beauty and acts as/and is an important catchment for Isiukhu and Yala Rivers, its one of Kenya's top bird-watching destinations.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
Kakamega forest was first gazetted as a Trust Forest in 1933, later on in 1986 a total of 4,000ha of the northern portion of the forest, along with the adjacent 457 ha of Kisere Forest, were amalgamated and gazetted as Kakamega National Park.

Conservation issues
Kakamega is a complex and fragmented forest, and one that has been under attack, from inside and out, for many years. Logging for commercially valuable timber, and clear-felling of indigenous forest to make way for plantations, was extensive under the colonial Forest Service and continued until the late 1980s. This began the process of isolating the northern and southern blocks. Excisions for settlement, schools and tea plantations (the 'Nyayo Tea Zones') have claimed additional chunks of the forest. Kakamega District is one of the most densely populated in Kenya, and human pressure on the forest is extremely intense. Local people are estimated to derive products worth 100 million Kenya Shillings (approximately US$ 1.7 million) from the forest each year (Emerton 1994).

To reduce the level of poaching for forest products in the forest KWS has developed a participatory forest management approach that incorporates the community in conservation initiatives.

Comparison with other similar properties
Kakamega forest can be compared to Kibale and Mabira forests in Uganda, as they have the same species diversity and are an important bird area.

We propose for the serial listing of Kakamega forest with similar forests in Uganda like Kibale, Mathira forests that as they have similar characteristics in terms of species diversity and signify the end of Congo basin forests. The Kakamega Forest is very unique to Kenya and has attracted a lot of international researchers into the area.

Learn more about the request here:

Kenyan Nuru Project wins UNEP Sasakawa Prize

2009-10 Sasakawa Prize winners bring light and heat to communities in Latin America, Africa and India

Bali (Indonesia), 23 February 2010 - Two projects bringing green stoves and clean lighting to remote communities in Latin America, East Africa and India are the laureates of the 2009-10 UNEP Sasakawa Prize, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.

This year's winners are Nuru Design, a company bringing rechargeable lights to villages in Rwanda, Kenya and India; and Trees, Water and People (TWP), an organization that collaborates with local NGOs to distribute fuel-efficient cook stoves to communities in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti.

The UNEP Sasakawa Prize, worth $200,000, is given out each year to sustainable and replicable grassroots projects around the planet. The winners will receive their prestigious Prize at an Award Ceremony in Bali attended by dozens of Environment Ministers during the 11th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council.

In a year that saw global leaders meet in Copenhagen for the crucial climate conference, the 2009 theme for the Prize is 'Green Solutions to Combat Climate Change'. The winners, who were selected by a panel of four people including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace Wangari Maathai, will receive $100,000 each in order to expand and develop their grassroots projects.

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General who chaired the Jury Panel, said: "Combating climate change is not just up to governments: it starts at the grassroots level, as communities tap into the power of renewables and sustainable technologies. Through pioneering green ovens and sustainable lighting, Nuru Design and Trees, Water and People are changing the lives of thousands of schoolchildren, housewives and villagers across Latin America, Africa and India. This is the Green Economy of tomorrow, in action today."

The two projects are both helping to improve daily lives in far-flung, non-electrified villages while helping to fight climate change.

Nuru Design has already converted thousands of households to rechargeable lights, and aims to prevent the emission of around 40,000 tonnes of CO2 from kerosene lighting in 2010.

And through fuel-efficient cooking stoves that burn 50 to 70 per cent less wood, TWP is helping households save money and preventing nearly 250,000 tonnes of hazardous emissions.

The winners

Nuru Design

Lack of reliable energy and lighting affects over two billion people in the developing world and remains a primary obstacle to improving health, increasing literacy and education, and, ultimately, reducing poverty and hunger. Meanwhile, the equivalent of 260 million tonnes of CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere yearly from burning kerosene and firewood, which millions of people around the world rely on for lighting.

With seed-funding from the World Bank Lighting Africa initiative, Nuru Design UK co-developed and field-tested the Nuru lighting system with villagers and local partners in Rwanda - UNDP Rwanda and Millennium Villages. Nuru means "light" in Swahili, and the system consists of portable, inexpensive rechargeable LED lights that sell for $5.

Nuru lights can be recharged by solar panel or AC charger, but the primary recharging source is human power using the world's first commercially available, locally-assembled, pedal generator: the Nuru POWERCycle. Gentle pedalling for 20 minutes using feet or hands, bicycle-style, can fully recharge up to five Nuru lights - each one lasting up to 37 hours. The lights give up to two weeks of bright light on a full recharge, allowing children to study, home-based businesses to operate, and households to function after dark.

The project has been a runaway success, making a significant, immediate and long-lasting environmental impact. In Rwanda alone, Nuru is adding 40 entrepreneurs every quarter, meaning 10,000 households every quarter will switch from kerosene to Nuru light.

Nuru Design plans to use the Sasakawa funding to scale up in Rwanda and to replicate their work in Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and India - expanding to 800 entrepreneurs who will deliver lighting to about 200,000 households.

Trees, Water and People

Nearly half the world's 6.8 billion people rely on smoky open fires to cook their daily meals. This traditional practice causes deadly indoor air pollution which kills 1.6 million women and children annually.

Trees, Water & People (TWP) , a non-profit organization, collaborates with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti to distribute fuel-efficient cook stoves that burn 50 to 70 per cent less wood and remove toxic smoke from homes. Other projects include community tree nurseries, reforestation, protecting watersheds and the promotion of renewable energy.

To date, TWP has coordinated the building of 35,000 stoves throughout Central America and Haiti, benefitting more than 175,000 people. The ecostoves burn 70 per cent less wood than traditional ovens, saving families $1 to $5 per day.

They also decrease harmful carbon emissions by 1 tonne of CO2 equivalent per year per stove for domestic users and 3.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year for commercial users, like tortilla makers.

To supplement the fuel-efficient stoves project, TWP has helped villages create 16 community-run tree nurseries that sequester carbon and counter the effects of deforestation. To date, three million trees have been planted throughout Latin America.

TWP will use the Prize money to support and expand the fuel-efficient stove projects and community tree nurseries throughout Central America and the Caribbean, purchasing equipment and materials necessary for increased stove production, as well as vehicles for transportation and delivery.

About the UNEP Sasakawa Prize

The UNEP Sasakawa Prize is sponsored by the Japan-based Nippon Foundation, an independent, non-profit grant-making organization that supports both Japanese and international philantropic projects. The UNEP Sasakawa Prize was originally created in 1982 by the late Ryoichi Sasakawa. The Prize was re-launched in its current format in 2005, and is currently chaired by Mr. Sasakawa's son, Yohei Sasakawa.

The four members of the 2009-10 UNEP Sasakawa Prize jury are Jury Chairman and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace Pr. Wangari Maathai, Nobel chemistry Laureate and 1999 Sasakawa Winner Pr. Mario Molina, and Ms Wakako Hironaka, Member of Japan's House of Councillors.

At the UNEP Sasakawa Award Ceremony on 23 February, last year's Sasakawa Winners - Sunlabob Rural Energy and Practical Action - will deliver a report on their progress since they were awarded the Prize.

Winners' Biographies:

Nuru Design - Sameer Hajee

Prior to Nuru Design, Sameer Hajee was the Global Business Development manager at Freeplay Energy plc, the developers of the world's first hand-crank radio and flashlight. At Freeplay, Sameer created the international aid and development sales team which in 2006 and 2007 generated $6 million in revenue. He also co-created and co-managed a Development Marketplace project that saw the creation of 50 rural energy enterprises in Rwanda.

In 2005, Sameer launched and managed the Growing Sustainable Business (GSB) initiative at UNDP in Kenya, where he helped domestic and multinational companies, such as SC Johnson, Tetra Pak and Microsoft, to develop and implement pro-poor business models in Kenya.

Learn More here:-

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

KFS launches Guide for on-farm growing of eucalyptus

February 17, 2010
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has released a guide on the growing and management of eucalyptus in Kenya. The Guide for on-farm growing of Eucalyptus is a tool to be used by field officers in advising farmers on the best species and siting for the planting of the genus that currently occupies over 100 000 hectares of land in the country.
The guide has been authored by senior foresters at KFS and reviewed by several forestry stakeholders among them scientists from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) and environmental experts from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).

According to the Head of Farm Forestry in KFS Mrs. Jennifer Ngige, the criticism leveled against eucalyptus is not warranted at all as most of it is based on lack of knowledge on the management of the tree. On the contrary, Mrs. Ngige says that eucalyptus is a very viable investment for thousands of farmers because of its value chain which includes timber, poles and fuelwood.

Mrs. Ngige asserts that like many fast growing tree species, eucalyptus is a very efficient water user. Site matching should thus be done to make sure that the species is planted on appropriate locations far from water sources and riparian areas.
KFS has already zoned out the areas to be planted with the different types of tree species including indigenous and plantations for both conservation of the environment purposes and industrial needs of the country.

The benefits of growing eucalyptus according to Mrs. Ngige are many, ranging from their fast growth to their diversity in species type ideal for the different ecological zones in Kenya from the coastal saline conditions to arid and semi arid areas and highlands.

Their fast growth and relatively low management costs have also made them the best choice for production of fuel wood in the tea, cement and tobacco industries which traditionally use the very costly and environmentally unfriendly furnace oil for production adds Mrs. Ngige.

According to Mrs. Ngige, the guide is a precursor to a Policy on Eucalyptus that is being generated in collaboration with the Ministries of Forestry and Wildlife, Environment and Mineral Resources, Agriculture, Water and Irrigation among other stakeholders.

Forestry In The News on Monday & Tuesday, February 22 & 23, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Kenya Times Page 7 an article with the title –“Mau settlers must quit by March ,says official”
The Star-Page 10 an article with the title –“Charcoal traders attacked”
Daily Nation-Page 31, an article with the title –“Pan Paper’s fortunes look up as State clears power bill, recalls workers.”

Monday, February 22, 2010
• The People-Page 3 an article with the title -“Japan grants Shs 385m for the Mau restoration”
• The Star-Page 7 an article with the title – “Marmanet squatters to be evicted next month.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Forestry in the news on Thursday, February 18, 2010

• The People-The People’s Environment Magazine, Page 12-An article with the title-“Nandi Forests at the mercy of loggers”.
• Kenya Times-The Letters column, Page 12 a letter by Weldon Orip Kirui with the title-“ Ntimama Telling half truths on Mau”.
• Daily Nation –Page 1,2 The Horizons Magazine-an article with the title-“Applying science in the Mau”
• Daily Nation –Page 48,49 –adverts by Kenya Forest Service' NRM Project for ISO Certification and infrastructure development in HQs, Londiani and Moi University
• EA Standard –Page 42-adverts by Kenya Forest Service' NRM Project for ISO Certification and infrastructure development in HQs, Londiani and Moi University
• EA Standard-Page 3-an article on property briefs with the title- “Mau Survey Launched”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mau ICS launches website

The Interim Co-ordinating Secretariat on Mau has recently launched a website. Please visit to view. The website contains information on the Task Force, FAQs, progress reports, etc. Kindly visit the website for more information.

Forestry News on Wednesday, February 17, 2010

• Kenya Times-Page 22 an article with the headline-“Plan to fence off Mau, Mt Kenya unveiled”
• Daily Nation –Page 29 an article with the headline- “Ministry reaches out to lenders to save Pan Paper”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Barclays Bank sponsors Karura Forest Conservation

Courtesy of Business Daily- Monday 15th edition

Challenges of conserving Sandalwood

The Monday edition of EA Standard run a story titled“AG terminates sandalwood theft case” which shows the difficulties faced by forestry agencies in enforcing the ban on sandalwood exploitation.

Ossiris Lanceolata is an endangered tree species found in the ASAL areas of East Africa. This species is quite useful in the manufacture of beauty products especially perfumes after undergoing a process to extract its oil. It is also used to make medicines and locally, it was used to make traditional medicine for various ailments.

Its endangered nature forced His Excellency the President following recommendations by scientists and forestry experts to give it protection under the Presidential Decree which essentially banned its harvesting until a sustainable way of utilizing it is found.

Unscrupulous dealers in cahoots with some security agencies have however continued to deplete the Kenyan stock of the species by allowing its transportation on Kenyan roads and export through Kenyan borders. It is important to note that none of the other East African countries have sandalwood. This is due to uncontrolled harvesting of the species which has completely depleted it in both Uganda and Tanzania.

Tanzania is the main transit point for the sandalwood and does not have a harvesting and transportation ban on the species making it the ideal exit route to overseas markets mainly in Asia.

Forestry In the News on Tuesday, February 16, 2010

• Daily Nation-Page 13 an article by Bjorn Lomborg with the headline-“Climate change or evangelism?”
• Daily Nation - Page 3 Smart Company an article with the title –“Lenders to sue government over Sh1.3bn Pan Paper debt” and another article with the title-“ New rules to control logging in State forests”
• Page 12 Smart Company- A photograph of Tusker Project Fame contestants participating in EABL –supported tree-planting initiative
• Page 13 Smart Company- Article titled “Jatropha lights up a village” about Muhaka village in Kwale where residents are milling jatropha seeds for domestic lighting & cooking
• The Star –Page 2 a news article with the headline –“Sweden holds back grants for forestry organization”
• The Star –Page 9 a news article with the headline –“Kibaki will revive Pan Paper Mill, Wetang’ula says”

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kakamega Forest to benefit from (Forest Again)-Msitu Tena Project

Forest Again is a carbon offset reforestation project in Kakamega Forest, Kenya. The goals of Forest Again are to sequester carbon dioxide, conserve biodiversity in a unique and threatened African ecosystem, and enhance the livelihoods of people in forest adjacent communities. Outcomes include restoration of 490 hectares of indigenous rainforest habitat and the establishment of a forest corridor between existing forest islands, job creation and business opportunities for impoverished forest‐adjacent communities, and capacity building of local conservation organization’s mission to develop alternative income projects for communities.

The project management is being developed by Eco2librium in collaboration with a Project Management Team and all “on the ground” management will be through the PMT. This team is a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, international assemblage involving Kenya’s leading organizations in forestry research, conservation, and management, community organizations, and world-known organizations in rainforest research and conservation. This unique group of individuals and their organizations is unmatched and will provide the resources, expertise and experience needed for successful implementation, completion, and permanence of this grand project. It includes Eco2librium, Kenya Forest Service, KEEP, National Museum of Kenya, BIOTA-East Africa, Moi University Dept of Forestry and Muleshi Community Forest Association.

Learn more about the project here

Forestry In The News on 13th- 15th February, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010
• EA Standard-Page 11-an article with the headline –“AG terminates sandalwood theft case”
• The Star -Page 7-an article with the headline-“Plans for road through Aberdare park dropped”

Sunday, February 14, 2010
• EA Standard-Page 16 -the Guest Viewpoint segment an article with the headline-“Of Mau Forest paradox and its effect on climate change”.

Saturday, February 13, 2010
• The Star- Page 7-an article wth the title-“Tetu loggers escape after felling trees”
• EA Standard-Page 5 an article with the title-“KWS unveils plan to fence off Mau and Mt Kenya forests”
• EA Standard- Page 5 an article titled- “Four held for illegal logging”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Forestry In The News on 12th February, 2010

Daily Nation- Page 6- news story titled-‘’Activists may sue over Mau payments’’.
The Star-Page 6- An article with the title-“Rhino Ark needs Shs 40m”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Emali: No Laughing Matter

Waking up at 5.00 am and running up a steep hill followed by physical exercises for an hour is not exactly the activities for the middle-aged. Neither are the rigorous drills, saluting routine, polishing shoes to a mirror-like shine or making your bed so flat that a coin can roll from one end to the other.

The Head of Central Highlands Conservancy, Mr. Waichihi says if these sacrifices including having to be separated with his favorite full beard look will help save the Kenyan forests and re-energize Kenya Forest Service, then he is willing to pay the price.

The pioneer group undergoing the paramilitary course in Administration Police Senior Officer’s College at Emali is a mix of body sizes from the thin, petite, mostly hefty with a generous middle and an occasional plumpish one tending towards the overweight end of the scales. These senior officers all with decades of wealth in the forestry and military fields mostly range in ages of between 40 to mid-40s with an occasional one or two straddling near either side of 60 years.

They looked splendid and youthful in the combat uniforms complete with jungle boots and oversized hats. It was interesting to watch the men and women who have spent all their working lives issuing orders in what seemed awkward and reversed roles of receiving a barrage of orders from their youthful instructors. In the uniforms, it was a hard task for a visitor to pick out individual officers since they all looked the same.

The group has already voted Mr. Cosmas Ikiugu as the course Chairman and all communications must pass through him to the college administration. There is a clear hierarchy in place and a tight programme which occupies every single minute of the 6 weeks the officers will be residents here. We heard interesting stories of officers who had to go back to Emali for a cleaner hair cut after some got the normal shave with sideburns and fancy lines! Such can not be tolerated from a course“recruit”.

There are four ladies in the contingent and they were all in very hearty mood when we visited them. They are Charity Munyasia, Jeniffer Nasomba, Abia Abdi Osman and Elizabeth Wambugu. Most of the officers are eager to get back to their stations to implement all the valuable skills they have learnt at Emali.

The motto of the course is commitment,discipline,dedication and endurance

Kenya Forestry In The News on 11th February, 2010

• The EA Standard-Page 13 news story titled-‘’30 Title Deeds on Mau Land returned’’
• EA Standard-Page 12-13 Home and Away Magazine an adventure story titled-‘’The Hidden World of Nyakweri Forest’’
• The Star-Page 16, The Letter to the editor page-A letter entitled- ‘’Moi’s Mau Land belongs to the Kalenjin’’- by Weldon Kirui from Diggir

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New officers admitted for para-military training in Emali

In an effort to harmonize the working relationship between the disciplined arm of Kenya Forest Service and the professional ranks, the Human Resource Division has embarked on an paramilitary biased induction course for all senior officers who have supervising roles in the Conservancies and Zones. The course being undertaken in conjunction with Administration Police at their Senior Officers Training College in Emali has already received the first batch of 35 officers who include Heads of Conservancies, Assistant Commandants and select Zonal Managers.

The course comprises physical training, drills; training on roles of security forces is aimed at entrenching a positive culture change as well as improving productivity and efficiency.
To launch the first in a series of such courses and evaluate the pioneer group’s progress, the Senior Deputy Director, Mr. E.N. Mugo along with the Commandant, Col. Kimani and Deputy Director – Human Resource , Mr. J.O.Olayo were at hand on the fourth day to get the early feedback.

In his speech Mr. Mugo informed the group that the course was one of the recommendations made by the KFS Harmonization Taskforce and aims at filing gaps that were noticed in the mismatched hierarchical relationships within the organization and especially between the disciplined and non-disciplined personnel. The course aims at sharpening the senior officer’s commitment, dedication, endurance and discipline even as they learn security related skills in line with potential threats that they face while on duty.

Mr. Mugo observed that the pioneer group was making history and would be expected to implement the lessons learnt once they are back at their various stations.

Rotary Club invites KFS to Nakuru

Made up of Nakuru residents who have seen the negative effects of Mau forest’s destruction, the Rotary club of Nakuru wanted to know what role they could play in the restoration of the largest water tower in Kenya. 

In two presentations conducted by Benedict Omondi and Raphael Mworia, the hard facts about the Mau Forests Complex and how the Rotarians could get involved were made during the Club’s monthly fellowship at the Rift Valley Sports Club in Nakuru on 9th February, 2010.

The gathering was appraised on the new forestry laws which allow partnerships through  & Bequests, Joint Management of Forests, Concessions, Community Forest Associations (CFAs), Special use licenses, Timber licenses and Contracts. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Using the participation rules that have recently been published, private institutions and individuals can adopt forests, support local CFAs in replanting & livelihood activities, assist in roadside planting, boundary planting in public land, schools, etc or get involved in carbon trade.

The presenters also fielded questions from members on a range of subjects including how local communities can benefit, how past mistakes should be contained, timber licensing, possibility of logging ban lifting and role of various institutions.

KFS promised to follow up with concrete proposal on how the members can partner with any of the 13 forest stations in Nakuru District.

The following are the forest stations in Nakuru Forest Zone:- Baraget, Nessuit, Teret, Kiptunga, Mariashoni, Logoman, Saino (settled), Sururu, Eburru, Dundori, Bahati, Menengai

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wildflower in Karura

Wildflower is a group of outdoor, recreation and sports enthusiasts who organize sports events like the monthly Porini-X series of trail runs in different parts across the country which includes forays into forests, mountains, hills, parks and game reserves in the key regions of Western and Nyanza provinces, Chyulu Hills, Kakamega Forest, Tigoni, Longonot, etc

To kick off their 2010 calendar, the group organized an event in Karura Forest for their members on 30th January. The event comprised a cycle race and running race for different age groups. Over 70 participants too part. The group also made a donation to Kenya Forest Service of a new Rangers Banda to be installed at the Limuru Road entrance to the Karura Trail. We thank them sincerely for this gesture that will go a long way towards giving the rangers manning the trail a dignified work environment. Kudos.

The event also gave the co-organizers, Friends of Karura Forest (FKF) an opportunity to showcase the ten recently recruited Karura Community Scouts who will work hand in hand with KFS rangers in ensuring the security of visitors to the trail is assured.

KFS is committed to opening up our forest estate to the public for recreation purposes in a secure environment and we have decided to use Karura Forest as a pilot in partnership with Friends of Karura Forest (FKF).

KFS Ranger (R) and Community Scout (L) working hand in hand to ensure security of joggers and bikers in Karura

The Ranger's Banda doanted by Wildflower to Karura Forest.

Sunflower members at the BP Shell Club after the event. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Forest Landscape & Vision 2030- Report on Forestry Society of Kenya's 3rd Scientific Conference

The third Scientific Conference of the Forestry Society of Kenya (FSK) held at Sunset Hotel in Kisumu
between 1st and 3rd October 2008, was one of the major milestones that the Society achieved in the year.
The proceedings and papers presented during the conference, which has now become an annual event, are
clear testimony of the commitment that members have in keeping the society actively involved in forestry

The conference theme was - CHANGING FOREST LANDSCAPE AND VISION 2030

  • Forest Profession: Missing Link or Gap in Training, Education, Research and Technology Dissemination?
  • Strengthening Forest Governance: How far to go in Decentralization and Participation?
  • Promising Forest Germplasm: Threats or Opportunities for Management and Conservation?
  • Forest Markets, Value Addition and Trade: New Products and Services or Untapped Frontiers?

The conference report was published on January 6th 2010 and you can down load a copy here:-

Transportation in Africa Made Possible with Bamboo Bikes

Transportation in Africa Made Possible with Bamboo Bikes

Bamboo BikeOn a continent with little access to reliable transportation but ample in bamboo, one entrepreneur has found a way to turn the material into a life-changing resource.
The Bamboo Bike Project (BBP) is an initiative that “aims to examine the feasibility of implementing cargo bikes made of bamboo as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa.”  The idea began when a dog named Luna was given two stalks of bamboo to chew, and though she could easily destroy any other stick, these stalks proved impenetrable to her strong jaws.  Her owner noticed this and her owner just happened to be Craig Calfee, one of the country’s most elite in bike-building.  He built his first bamboo bike prototype and used it to run errands.  Then he built a few more for friends.  He thought of his recent trip to Africa and the idea hit him, that maybe if people in Africa could learn to build them, they would have both a livelihood and a means of transportation.
A large number of Africans rely on bicycles for transportation but they are often the imported bikes designed for smooth road surfaces. Bamboo is the ideal material to substitute for bike-building in Africa.  It is both flexible and strong… similar to an aluminum frame used for many mass-produced bikes.  And because bamboo has a vibration-damping characteristic similar to carbon fibre, it makes riding on the bumpy, uneven African roads a bit smoother.  In a country that lacks electricity, these bike frames can be built by hand using bamboo, resin and sisal (a fiber used for making rope, sacking and insulation).
Columbia University - Bamboo BikesCalfee took a chance and put a blurb on his website outlining these positive aspects.  In a twist of fate, David Ho, a cyclist who happens to work for the Earth Institute of Columbia University, clicked on that link.  The Earth Institute was formed with the goal of achieving sustainable development with an emphasis on protecting the Earth’s resources as well as the spread of social and economic opportunities for all people.  The Bamboo Bike Project fit in perfectly with those goals and soon a partnership was formed.
Two cities were targeted for distribution of the bamboo bikes – Kumasi, Ghana and Kisumu, Kenya.  After a trip to visit these cities (including a stop at the Kenya Forest Research Institute where a bamboo production initiative was already underway), the BBP determined that the resources are plentiful and the need is great.  With sturdy bikes villagers can get their goods to markets… opening up regional trade; doctors can reach more patients; rural students can get to school easier.  The project will also focus on the special needs of women who are often the backbones of the community as they tend to crops, perform chores and organize their family’s life and finances.
The goal for mass production and distribution is 20,000 bikes annually.  Tweaks and advancements to the production system will need to be made but the BBP remains confident that bringing this project to a bamboo-rich continent will have a major impact on the lives of millions living in poverty.  In the meantime, they are working hard and enjoying the testing process.
Witness BBP’s first ever Columbia Criterion.
Another great bamboo bike story can be found in our Celebrities Love Bamboo post, where Colin Firth and friends market their bamboo bikes.
Bamboo is such an amazing resource that can help countries all across the world, which is why we have dedicated an entire category to Bamboo’s Worldwide Impact.

A beautiful tree in Taita Hills

Off the blocks

This being the first post of this new blog on forestry, I want to welcome you on board and promise that you will find this a refreshing journey into the heart of Kenyan forestry, full of anecdotes, facts, figures, pictures and peek into the building blocks of forestry reforms in the country. Along the way, I will invite other contributors who share my vision and who will enrich the debate and discourse on forestry.
I will share with you news and views on forestry resources, estate, management, challenges, opportunities, etc.
Karibu sana (welcome).