Sunday, May 30, 2010

Forestry In the News- 23rd May- 28th May

Forestry in the news on Friday, May 28, 2010
The Star-page 7 an article with the title-“KFS rolls out plan to restore forests”
Daily Nation-page 17 an article with the title-“Miracle tree may lack the magic touch it’s fabled to have after all. Researchers say Jatropha tree is a threat to habitat and is of little value
Page 36-an article with the title-“Cost of Mau evictions assessed”
The People Daily-page 18 an article with the title-“Climate change fight gets US$ 3.5b boost”
Page 22-a picture of Jack Okuku playing golf at Royal Nairobi golf course. He won the inaugural Kenya Forest Service Misitu Challenge which attracted several players with a message to plant trees for better environment.

Forestry in the news on Thursday, May 27, 2010
The People Daily-page 12 an article with the title-“Impact of climate change in Kenya”
Page 14-an article with the title-“KFS raises red flag over sandalwood in Kitui”
Kenya Times-page 6 an article with the title-“Mau conservation efforts up as many organizations chip in”
Business Daily-page 8 an article with the title-“Power project to reap from carbon sale”
EA Standard –page 3(Home and Away)-an article with the title-“Illegal settlers: A time bomb to economy”

Forestry in the news on Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The People Daily-page 14 an article with the title-“Government’s plan to conserve Marmanet forest’
Kenya Times-page 19 an article with the title-“State moves to third phase of saving forests”
Page 18-an article with the title-“Role of water towers in conservation”

Forestry in the news on Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Daily Nation –page 2(Smart Company)-a picture of children from the Kenya Wildlife Club showing team effort as they plant tree seedlings at the Nairobi National Park. It was an initiative of the Nairobi Greenline and 2,000 seedlings were planted.
The People Daily-page 16 a picture of Forestry and Wildlife assistant Minister Josephat Nanok planting a tree during this year’s Young Farmer’s Clubs of Kenya at Kimathi University in Nyeri.
Kenya Times-page 19 an article with the title-“Climate change costs global economy Sh9.8 trillion”
EA Standard-page 12 an article with the title-“Kipipiri: 500 farmers rewarded for conserving the Aberdares range”

Forestry in the news on Monday, May 24, 2010
Daily Nation –page 2 an article with the title-“Egypt to help save water towers”.
Page 25-A picture of Mr. Maina Wanjau, the newly elected chairman of the Institute of Engineers of Kenya, watering a tree he had planted when a group of 140 engineers visited Athi River Mining’s Kaloleni plant.
The People Daily-page 16 a picture of Forestry and Wildlife assistant Minister Josephat Nanok planting a tree during this year’s Young Farmer’s Clubs of Kenya at Kimathi University in Nyeri.
Kenya Times-page 4 an article with the title-“Politics hindering Mau conservation campaigns”
Page 22-a picture of LG Electronics Regional General Manager Won Na and Hot Point Appliances Managing Director Shailesh Kanani planting trees during a tree planting initiative at Ragia forest in Nyandarua
Business Daily-page 3 an article with the title-“Eucalyptus tree courts controversy as demand for power poles grows”
The East African-page 2, 3 an article with the title-“Community, environment benefit from long-term CSR activities’
The Star-page 10 an article with the title-“500,000 seedlings ready in Baringo”

Forestry in the news on Sunday, May 23, 2010
Sunday Nation-page 26, 27-an article with the title-‘Logging ban Blocks Sh40 billion from the economy”
Sunday Standard- Page 26, 27A supplement by the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources on the International Day of Biodiversity with pictures of people planting trees.

Kenyan firms Urged To Adopt Forests - By Catherine Karong'o

David Mbugua, Kenya Forezt Service Director

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 - The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Mau forest Interim Coordinating Secretariat (ICS) are now calling on organisations to adopt certain forest blocs for re-forestation.

KFS Director David Mbugua said on Thursday that this would boost the governments’ efforts of conserving and protecting forests.

“The idea of adopting a bloc is more important to us because often time we think that forest conservation includes only tree planting but there is more to tree planting - there is care, husbandry, which takes a bit of time before you actually start seeing forests developing,” Mr Mbugua said.

He said the Mau forest had been subdivided into 22 blocs, five of which had been identified to be adopted by various organisations and government Ministries.

KFS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Africa Wildlife Foundation which has adopted 5,400 hectares and Malaika Ecotourism which has taken up care of 138 hectares of the Southern Mau forest near Narok.

“Adoption of the forest blocs will include follow up action to ensure the trees are well nurtured,” he said.

Mr Mbugua said the Ministry of Energy was expected to adopt 19,000 hectares of the part of the forest that is a source of the Sondu Miriu River while the Ministry of Defence was expected to take up 1,000 hectares.

“The contracts will last for at least three years to ensure the seedlings are sustained,” he said.

The ICS Chairman Noor Hassan Noor said they were currently in the third phase of the restoration programme which entailed securing 20,000 hectares of the Maasai Mau forest.

“In the next two weeks, we will be analysing the data that has been collected from the profiling exercise which is being edited now and after that we shall be able to understand who are in Maasai Mau and advise the government,” he said.

“And then after that this process of Maasai Mau may take us until the end of the year because it will involve not only analysing data but also looking at the liability aspect of it,” he added.

After that there would be relocation of the 2,000 families that inhabit that part of the forest.

He said that in this third phase they were also dealing with the 2001 excision where the government allocated 61,000 hectares of the Mau forest to individuals.

The Chairman could not state, however, the amount required for the exercise saying that “the figure given to the ministry of finance was too speculative.”

He said the final figure would be reached at after they were through with the analysis of data and hoped treasury would allocate the required funds in the June budget.

Mr Noor said 23,000 hectares of the Mau forest had already been secured out of the targeted 120,000 hectares of the forest land.

Article Courtesy of Capital FM Kenya

Friday, May 28, 2010

Miracle tree may lack the magic touch it’s fabled to have after all- Daily Nation

A failed large scale jatropha plantation project in Kiambere, Eastern Province suggesting that the plant requires irrigation to produce healthy seeds  that can produce commercially exploitable oil.  Photo/ISAIAH ESIPISU
A failed large scale jatropha plantation project in Kiambere, Eastern Province suggesting that the plant requires irrigation to produce healthy seeds that can produce commercially exploitable oil. Photo/ISAIAH ESIPISU 
Posted Thursday, May 27 2010 at 20:10
Large-scale farming of the biodiesel jatropha tree should be stopped since it creates a food shortage.
It will harm the environment and is of little commercial value, according to a national research institution.
This comes as the country gears up for what could be the biggest jatropha biodiesel project in the region.
An Italian company, Nouve Iniziative Industriali sri, is clearing 55,000 hectares leased from the Malindi County Council for the jatropha plantations.
The biodiesel would be for local use as well as for export to Italy. It also promises to contribute electricity to the national grid and generate gas for domestic use.
But now the first scientific audit of the ‘miracle tree’ by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri) and the World Agroforestry Centre and sponsored by the German government, says the crop is not economically viable when grown as a monoculture or in plantations.
In the Jatropha Reality Check February 2010 study, the researchers want the government to stop any promotion of the tree as a plantation crop.
“We believe doing otherwise would be extremely irresponsible and could exacerbate existing food insecurity throughout the country,” says the study.
The study hints that thousands of poor farmers in arid parts of the country may have been duped into buying the “miracle” seeds and seedlings at inflated prices.
Now the study wants the government through the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute to re-evaluate its current biofuels policy of promoting jatropha.
“We also urge all public and private sector actors to cease promoting the crop among small-scale farmers for any plantation apart from as a hedge,” says the study which is yet to be made public.
Having surveyed all jatropha farming in all parts of the country, the study concludes that the tree does not do well, as previously promoted, in arid areas as it requires huge amounts of water and nutrients in form of fertilisers.
But even before the Reality Check recommendations, the investing company had taken off on the wrong foot, when it started clearing the land without obtaining the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment licence from the government.
This is now under way, following the direct intervention of the Ministry of the Environment and Mineral Resources, and the first public hearing was held last week at the project site in Magarini District.
The hearing pitted the investors and Malindi councillors on the one hand, government agencies and civic groups on the other, and the poor of Magarini, desperate for any type of employment, in the middle.
According to the Italians’ representative, Mr Ivan Del Prete, the company will turn near wasteland into a productive entity yielding biodiesel for export and local use, while creating about 1,500 jobs within five years.
The company has leased the 55,000 hectares of the trust land for 33 years at the rate of about Sh200 per hectare per year.
Justifying the project Mr Ivan Del Prete, says they are confident that one hectare has the potential to host up to 2,500 trees and produce up to six tonnes of seeds after three years of planting.
“The six tonnes can produce two tonnes of oil and almost 4 tonnes of pressing residues which will be used in biogas production for a bio fertilizer,”
The coordinator said the company plans to plant the crop from seeds which he says gives it a longer life of 50 years compared to 35 years when generated from cuttings. “We are sure the tree will do well here because it does not require much water and has little other competing commercial interests.”
Story Courtesy Daily Nation 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

KFS To Get Corporates Help In Mau Rehabilitation- Daily Nation


Kenya firms pledge Mau rehabilitation

Posted Wednesday, May 26 2010 at 14:37
Various organisations have offered to help rehabilitate 85,000 acres of Mau Forest Complex.
The Kenya Forest Service said Wednesday it is set to sign agreements with some of the organisations on Thursday.
The agreements, KFS director David Mbugua said, have increased hope of success in Mau restoration efforts.
He said the new commitments were as a result of intensive consultations involving the Mau Interim Coordinating Secretariat, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and KFS, Mr Mbugua said in a statement.
“The stakeholders coming on board are an essential boost to the organisation’s effort to turn back the Mau to what it used to be,” he said.
“Incorporating an agreement is affirmation of commitment to restore the Mau Forest Ecosystem and improve its value for socioeconomic development of the society,".
Among the organisations expected to sign agreements with KFS at its Nairobi headquarters include: African Wildlife Foundation, James Finlay, (K) Ltd., Malaika Ecotourism & Coral Cay Conservation UK, and Save the Mau Trust Fund.
“Government Ministries of Energy and State for Defence have also come in to adapt significant sections of the Mau forest,” Mr Mbugua said.
He said the groups will rehabilitate the areas for a minimum of three years.
ICS, which has been charged with the responsibility of ensuring the successful restoration of the Mau Forest, says much of the boundary marking is complete and that it was now analysing the profile data.
The Hassan Noor Hassan-led team will then start Phase III of the restoration exercise.  
The government has been facing stiff opposition from some Rift Valley leaders over its efforts to conserve the 400,000 hectares Mau Forest Complex.
Hundreds of squatters were removed from the forest in the first and second phase of the restoration efforts.
Former President Moi is among senior personalities targeted in the third phase.
Mau is Kenya’s biggest water tower whose destruction has threatened the survival of 12 rivers flowing into Lake Victoria.
The illegal felling of trees at the forest is also a threat to agriculture, tourism and energy sectors

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Song & Dance As Management Plans Are Launched For Geta & Kinangop North Forests

Geta Forest, Aberdares- 25th May. Song and dance rent the chilly air on the foothills of the mighty Aberdares as members of the Community Forest Associations, KFS Staff, WWF, GBM staff, local leadership and community members shared in the joy of launching the Participatory Management Plans.  

The culmination of the long journey walked by the State forests agency, WWF and the local community to seek an arrangement through which the management of the forest can be facilitated was worth the long wait.

 Management Plans are documents detailing the roles of each partner in management of forests across the country as well as the activities to be undertaken over a specified period of time in this case being five years. It is especially designed to benefit communities living adjacent to forests by giving them the opportunity to draw benefits from the forest while they assist in its conservation.

This was in realization by the drafters of the new forestry legislation that the exclusion of ‘forest adjacent communities’ from the management of forests was not only affecting the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyans but was also counterproductive as the same people were responsible for the destruction of the forests in their quest to make a living albeit illegally.

So far KFS has approved 16 Management Plans and another 14 are awaiting approval by the Director KFS in the next few months. This will give thousands of people a chance to directly benefit from sustainable forest management. The Service is currently in the process of launching Management Plans for forests in the Aberdares, Laikipia and Coast Forest Conserfancies .

In the recent past other plans for Upper Imenti, Gathiuru, Kabaru, Hombe, Kangaita and Castle forests in Eastern and Central Forest Conservancies were launched.  

Herebelow are some of the scenes from today’s event officiated by Senior Deputy Director of Forests, Mr. Emilio Mugo and the Head of Central Forest Conservancy, Mr. Waichihi, Chairman of Central Highlands Conservancy, Mr. Kibaki, Mr. Mohamed from WWF Kenya Office.

Report Courtesy Raphael Mworia 

Quarterly Liaison Meeting Held In Mombasa

Director makes his presentation on day one of the meeting

A site-seeing tour of the Mtwapa Creek 

One of the two eco-tourism sites identified for further development

The second liaison meeting involving Senior Management and Heads of Conservancies was  held last week in the Coast Conservancy. The meeting which was first held in late January in Nairobi will be rotating around the ten conservancies every quarter. The next one will be held in Garissa.

During the meeting in Mombasa, various programmes and support functions made presentations on progress made todate towards achieveing the envisaged forestry reforms in the country. Very lively plenary sessions were held, where every Division’s and Department’s role was put on the spotlight.

During the opening session the Director Mr. D.K. Mbugua noted that great strides have been made in forestry reforms, but noted that more work lay in the future.  He note the achievements made by the pioneer Board of Directors and management team. Most notable he said were the great strides made in enhancing revenue collection. Although the Service has more than doubled its collections every year since 2007, the full potential was yet to be realized.

In an ice breaking presentation, the SDD, Mr. E.N. Mugo made an educative presentation on team work using the analogy flying geese which need to maintain a V formation to ensure least resistance to the wind. He requested all managers to “fly in formation” so as to achieve greater results.

During the meeting the unified insignia based on matching ranks in professional, technical and security cadres was also inaugurated and all officers who have undergone the induction course in Emali were issued with their ranks. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Logging ban blocks Sh40 billion from the economy- Daily Nation

The destruction of forest resources saw the government put in place a 10 year ban. The Kenya Forest Service is, however, asking for its lifting saying it has put its house in order.  Photo/ JOSEPH KANYI

The destruction of forest resources saw the government put in place a 10 year ban. The Kenya Forest Service is, however, asking for its lifting saying it has put its house in order. Photo/ JOSEPH KANYI 
Posted Saturday, May 22 2010 at 16:47
The 10-year ban on logging in public forests has locked up Sh40 billion in revenue to the local timber industry.
Even as the three-year-old Kenya Forest Service works to broaden its income base, it is unable to harvest approximately 38,000 hectares of over-mature exotic plantations valued at Sh36 billion due to the decision effected in 2000 by the Cabinet.
Another 18,000 hectares of trees between 10 and 22 years valued at Sh3.5 billion are due for commercial thinning.
The ban was first imposed in October 1999 for 90 days by the Minister for the Environment.
In March the following year, it was extended through a Cabinet decision to give the forest department time to complete the inventory of all plantations.
At the time, concern was the mismatch between the rate of logging and that of replanting. There were 46,000 hectares which had been harvested but not replanted - which indicted the department’s ability to put in place a prudent management of forest resources.
A break-down in licensing procedures had also seen the emergence of briefcase saw millers resulting in poor revenue.
Large-scale timber millers like Pan Africa Paper Mills, Raiply, Timsales and Comply that consume 75 per cent of wood harvested from State forests were, however, exempted from the logging ban.
This has created the perception of un-equitable access to timber resources by all players in the industry.
Sustainable management of forests requires that there is equitable distribution of costs and benefits to the society. KFS is now pushing a strong case for the lifting of the ban, arguing that it has put its house in order.
“We have given our recommendations and we are waiting for the lifting of the ban. It was done through a Cabinet decision and it is the only one that can lift it,” the KFS senior deputy director Mr Emilio Mugo said recently.
According to him, KFS has already mapped out areas where harvesting of trees could be done. It has also drawn felling plans. More than 1,000 forest rangers have been recruited since 2002, established a rapid response team and strengthened the field units to stem illegal activities.
In addition, Mr Mugo says, it has prepared subsidiary legislation to regulate community and private sector involvement in management of forests.
This will enable the parastatal to annually determine sustainable harvesting levels based on forest management plans. It has pre-qualified saw-millers for harvesting timber in State forests.
Regulations for production, transportation and trade in charcoal which will provide a framework for community engagement while streamlining charcoal production especially in the dry lands, will soon be in place.
Private firms
According to Mr Mugo, innovative forest management systems as the one the country has adopted will help boost forest cover since it includes community participation.
The social and economic impact of the ban has resonated in the entire timber industry and tertiary services associated with it.
Small timber manufacturers who have been surviving on raw materials from private farms have been warning of more job losses unless the ban is lifted.
Apart from the closure of 300 saw-mills with 50,000 direct jobs and an estimated 300,000 indirect ones, the ban has created timber scarcity
Story Courtesy of Daily Nation