Friday, March 5, 2010

Karura Forests to be fenced

Pic: Some of the Community Scouts engaged by FKF at the 4km Karura Trail pose for a photo with Karura Forester Mr. Orwa.

Background on Karura Forest.

The history of Karura Forest dates back to 1929 when it was gazetted. The forest straddles Limuru Rd., Kiambu Rd. and Thika Rd. The Forest has three distinct blocks and to the north is the Sigiria Block which borders Thigiri Ridge or New Muthaiga neighbourhood, Westlands and Canadian Embassy to the east. The Karura Block has Limuru Rd. to the west and Kiambu Rd to its east. This is the biggest block  and it houses the Kenya Forest Service amongst other  forestry-related installations. The last and smallest block stretches east of Kiambu Rd all the way to the Survey of Kenya offices on Thika Rd. The CID headquaters and the NSIS are all housed within the forest. See the map of Karura HERE

Due to Karura's proximity to affluent neighborhoods like Muthaiga, Runda, Whispers Gigiri, New Muthaiga and Ridgeways, land speculators and the so called "private developers" have always eyed this prime piece of land. Attempts have been made to degazette large portions of the forest since the 1990's. They have not succeeded, but there are numerous title deeds circulating for pieces of illegally exised forest land within Karura. Since the new Forest Act came into force, any exicision of forest land will be very difficult since it involves a recommendation from the community, Forest Conservation Committee for the area making a proposal to KFS Board of Management, who in turn recommend the same to Minister for Forestry who in turn gets Parliament's endorsement. The fencing project of Karura can only further complicate anyone with ulterior designs on the forest.

See an old report of the attempts to degazette and grab the forest as reported by Daily Nation HERE courtesy of

Friends of Karura Forest (FKF)

The Forest Act, 2005 is credited with making forest adjacent communities partners in conservation. This landmark inclusion has seen a rise in partnerships between the Kenya Forest Service and her various partners in the form of Community Forest Associations (CFAs). When Alice Macaire came to Kenya to live in the leafy suburb of Muthaiga, she was not satisfied in the confines of her safe neighborhood. She wanted to know what lay yonder, she wanted to visit the big forest in her neighborhood. An ardent horse lover, she wanted to take her horses for exercise into Karura Forest, but her staff, friends and neighbours warned her that it was not safe. A go-getter not satisfied with lame historical reasons, Alice walked to the Kenya Forest Service compound across and fell in love with Karura Forest. She could not believe that this jewel lay here un-noticed and under utilised. 

As the saying goes, the rest is history- she quickly mobilized the Muthaiga Resident Association, whose only interest with Karura was with regard to the security threat it posed and KFS into a meeting that later gave birth to a lobby group Friends of Karura Forest (FKF), which has now metarmorphosized into the Karura Community Forest Association transacting its business as FKF and bringing together corporates and residents including KFS,Muthaiga, Runda, Ridgeways,Gigiri,UNEP, CID, Huruma, Mathare slums, ICRAF, etc.

Thanks to Alice's networking, negotiation and mobilization skills, an eminent cast of Kenya's eminent environmental, corporate, business and public sector leader's who is who was gathered in Karura on 4th March, 2010 to launch a campaign that would ensure Karura remains a public asset for posterity. Apart from being a carbon sink for Nairobi Metropolis, with increased security, Karura will now be open to nature and recreation lovers. 

A report of the event and pronouncements will follow later  

1 comment:

  1. Carol KigothoMarch 14, 2010

    We dont inherit the environment from our ancestors, we borrow it from our childred; We therefore all got to do wat we gotta do to make Karura a heaven on earth.