Thursday, September 30, 2010

Deforestation, corruption and evictions: the Ogiek of the Mau Forest, Kenya

The Ogiek indigenous community is a hunter gatherer group who depend on the forest for food, medicine, shelter and preservation of their culture. They are foresters and conservators of nature, and so live in places where trees, birds and wild animals provide them with psychological comfort.
The Ogiek have a population of about 20,000 people throughout Kenya inhabiting mainly the Mau Forest Complex in the Great Rift Valley Province, and Mount Elgon. Approximately 15,000 Ogiek live in the Mau Forest Complex, which they have occupied for at least 150 years. The Mau is divided into 22 areas, with Ogiek inhabiting 12 of these (Marishooni, Nesuit, Saino, Sururu, Kiptungo, Sogoo, Nkaroni, Tinet, Sasimwani, Oltpirik, Nkareta and Olmekenyu).
However, in common with most indigenous people, the Ogiek have no title deeds evidencing their propery rights over the land. Common problems faced by indigenous groups include the lack of “formal” title recognition of their historic territories, the failure of domestic legal systems to acknowledge communal property rights, and the claiming of formal legal title to indigenous land by the colonial authorities.
In July 2008, the Kenyan Government launched an aggressive campaign to evict people living in the Mau Forest Complex that it deemed to be living there “illegally”, including the Ogiek, ostensibly in order to protect Kenya’s forests. The action was taken in response to concern about the loss of forest cover in Kenya and its wide-ranging negative impacts, including drought, loss of livelihood and reduced access to basic environmental services such as clean water.
The Mau Forest is one of five main water catchment areas in Kenya, feeding Lakes Victoria, Nakuru and Natron and supporting the ecosystems and livelihoods in the Maasai Mara National Park and the Serengeti. However, according to the Ogiek Peoples Development Programme and the international NGO Survival International, the main cause of loss of forest cover is the more recent encroachment of purely commercial interests, including logging and the clearing of forests for human settlement and agriculture, not the activities of the Ogiek and other indigenous people living there.
Fortunately the Kenyan government has temporarily rescinded its plan to evict Mau Forest inhabitants and the Mau Forest Task Force (which originally recommended the eviction of forest dwellers and is charged with developing and implementing a plan to preserve the Mau Forest ecosystem) has now incorporated members of the Ogiek Elders Council. MRG sees this as a positive step towards inclusion of this important indigenous group in decisions which will affect the development of a delicate environment so crucial to their survival.
MRG’s Head of Law, Lucy Claridge, went to gather evidence in the Mau Forest in June 2010 for an ongoing legal case in support of the Ogiek community.
For more information contact MRG's Press Office in London
T: +44 (0) 207 422 4205

Forestry in the News September 8th - 30th September, 2010

Forestry in the news on Wednesday, September, 08 2010
The Standard –page 20 an article with the title-“Unep strategy to reduce carbon emission levels”
The Star-page 8 an advert on a conference on biodiversity, land use and climate change to be held at hotel intercontinental in Nairobi from 15-17 September 2010
Forestry in the news on Monday, September, 13 2010
The People Daily-page 4 an article with the title-“KFS impounds stolen timber”

Forestry in the news on Friday, September, 18 2010
The Standard-page 6(Fever pitch) the fixtures for Saturday’s Misitu Golf Day sponsored by Kenya Forest Service at Railway Golf Club.
The Daily Nation-page 52 the fixtures for Saturday’s Misitu Golf Day sponsored by Kenya Forest Service at Railway Golf Club.

Forestry in the news on Monday, September, 20 2010
Business Daily-page 30 an article with the title-“Great law on environment, but needs fine tuning”
Page 18 –an article with the title-“Ethiopia greening drive gathers pace”
The People Daily-page 15 an article with the title-“Conservation framework needed to protect Kenyan Biobiversity”
Kenya Today-page 3 an article with the title-“New tree planting technology launched”
The East African-page 31 an article with the title-“Plans underway to pay those who protect forests”
The Star-page 6 an article with the title-“800 year –old Mtwapa site could be ruined”
The Daily Nation-page 30 an article with the title-“Panpaper faces closure due to lack of funding”

Forestry in the news on Thursday, September, 23 2010
The People Daily-page 9 an article with the title-“Logger fined Sh 50,00o”
Page 12-an article with the title-“Merging poverty and environment issues kills two birds with one stone”
Page 13-an article with the title-“Conference calls for updated biodiversity policy”
Page 11-an article with the title-“Dakatcha biofuel project on hold”
The Star-page 11 an article with the title-“Egerton set to transform Mau Forest, Njoro River”
Page 23-an article with the title-“Treasury blocking final restoration of Mau Forest”
The Standard-page 32 an advert by Kenya Forest Service on tendering for supply of fifteen Double cab Pickups and one Heavy Duty 4x4 Body Vehicle
The Daily Nation-page 11 an advert by Kenya Forest Service on tendering for supply of fifteen Double cab Pickups and one Heavy Duty 4x4 Body Vehicle
The Standard –page 20 an article with the title-“Forest officials sue AG over torture”

Forestry in the news on Friday, September, 24 2010
The Standard-page 6(Fever pitch) the fixtures for Saturday’s Misitu Golf Day sponsored by Kenya Forest Service at Muthaiga Golf Club.
The Daily Nation-page 52 the fixtures for Saturday’s Misitu Golf series sponsored by Kenya Forest Service at Muthaiga Golf Club.

Forestry in the news on Monday, September, 27 2010
The Standard-page 32 a picture of Uchumi Supermarket MD Jonathan Ciano planting a tree at Pwani Oil products firm factory at Jomvu Mombasa
The Daily Nation-page 3 an article with the title-“Green Development at strathmore”
Page 25-an article with the title-“Kenya could save billions from palm tree farming, says Kari”
The Star-page 11 a supplement on the activities of KEFRI

Forestry in the news on Tuesday, September, 28 2010
Business Daily-page 31 the list of winners of Misitu Golf series sponsored by Kenya Forest Service at Muthaiga Golf Club.
Page 11-an article with the title-“Green revolution needs local and global solutions”
The Daily Nation-page 32 an article with the title-“Council in row with police over seized timber”
Page 28- an article with the title-“Unep roots for green energy and Sh2m shot in the arm for Ngong forest sanctuary”

Forestry in the news on Wednesday, September, 29 2010
The Standard-page 13 an article with the title-“Leaders, traders want ban on logging lifted”
The Star-page 12 an article with the title-“Jatropha farm must give scientific proof”

Forestry in the news on Thursday, September, 30 2010
The Star-page 6 an article with the title-“Youths attack pastor over jatropha project”
Page 7-an article with the title-“Factories go green as power costs rise”
The People Daily-page 12 an article with the title-“Search for other sources of fuel”
The Standard-page 20 an article with the title-“Mau Forest evictees still living in camps”

Monday, September 27, 2010

Forest Queens Tour Mt. Kenya Forest

The forest beauties take a nature walk in the misty surroundings of Castle Forest Station in Kirinyaga County.

The First Runners-Up , Judy Faida (l) and Miss Forest, Maureen Nganga (r) pose with an old member of the forest.

The winner of Miss Forest Queen beauty peagant Ms Maureen Ng’ang’a recently toured the historic Castle Forest in Kirinyaga to learn more on the eco-tourism benefits of the forest which is reputed to have hosted the English Monarch in the 1940s.

The Forest Queen accompanied by her deputy and the first runners up Ms July Faidah in the contest held in October 2009 made an excursion of the forest in the company of other tourists led by the tour guides from the Castle Forest Lodge and KFS rangers.

The forest is popular among local and international tourists who love nature walks and close encounters with the wild. Speaking at the end of the tour, the Forest Queen said she had enjoyed the experience pointing out the close shave with elephants as the highlight of her day in the dense tropical forest.

Report by L. Sonkoyo

Senior Officers Pass Out Parade

The Director KFS Mr. D K Mbugua addresses the ceremony during the Senior Officers pass out at Emali.JPG
The Director KFS Mr. D K Mbugua addresses the ceremony during the Senior Officers pass out at Emali.
The guest of honour Dr. Ben Chikamai, KEFRI Director congratulates the parade commander of the just graduated officers at Emali after the passout parade.JPG
The guest of honour Dr. Ben Chikamai, KEFRI Director congratulates the parade commander of the just graduated officers at Emali after the passout parade
Officers match past during the passout ceremony at Emali.JPG
Officers match past during the passout ceremony at Emali.

The forth group of 37 senior officers undergoing paramilitary training at the Administration Police Senior Staff Training College recently passed out at a colourful ceremony in Emali. The officers were all smiles as family and friends gathered to celebrate their big day which came after six weeks of grueling training.

Speaking the ceremony, the guest of honour who is the Director of the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) Dr. Ben Chikamai congratulated them and urged them to put to practice what they had learnt and in particular use their training to improve forest management in the country.
On his part, the KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua asked the graduating officers to wear their uniforms with pride and take their roles as forest managers seriously. He said that the training was meant to among other things bridge the divide between them and the Forest Rangers with whom they work together in the management forests. 

Story by Leakey Sonkoyo

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Green Zones Projects Hosts Ghanian Delegation

The Ghanaian team pose for a picture with some of Gathiuru CFA members and KFS staff..JPG
The Ghanaian team pose for a picture with some of Gathiuru CFA members and KFS staff
The Ghanaian delegation pose for a group foto before the start of the tour. Hon. Henri-Ford Kamel is standing 2nd left.JPG
The Ghanaian delegation pose for a group foto before the start of the tour. Hon. Henri-Ford Kamel is standing 2nd left

A team from Ghana’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources recently visited the country on mission to learn how various forestry projects supported by the African Development Bank (ADB) are contributing to the livelihoods of local communities. The team which included the Ministry’s Deputy Minister Hon. Henri-Ford Kamel visited Nyeri and Nakuru district.

In Nyeri, the delegation was hosted by the Mathira Trust Youth Group who showed them programmes undertaken with the assistance of the ADB through the Green Zone Development Support Project (GZDSP). The youth group is also involved in mushroom farming among many other activities which have enhanced their living conditions. The team then visited Gathiuru Forest Station where the local CFA showcased their activities in participatory forest management. Among the CFA’s income generating activities are bee keeping and rabbit rearing which the visitors were able to see.

The delegation then headed to Mau Conservancy where they visited community groups in Nakuru Forest Zone which also deal with reafforestation of degraded forest areas in the Mau and river bank afforestation.
GZDSP is supporting the groups in various income generating activities including fish farming and tree nursery establishments. The community groups in return are helping KFS in the conservation of the Mau Forest Complex.

The Ghanians who were led in their three day tour by the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation at GZDSP Mr. Nicodemus Mwatika were later hosted to dinner by the KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua on their last day in the country. The Deputy Minister thanked the Director on behalf of his team for hosting them.

Report by Leakey Sonkoyo

Prince Edward Visits Karura Forest

Prince Edward (c) with the HOC Nairobi Conservancy Mrs. Charity Munyasia (l) and a Karura Forest Scout at the Waterfalls.jpg
Prince Edward (c) with the HOC Nairobi Conservancy Mrs. Charity Munyasia (l) and a Karura Forest Scout at the Waterfalls
Prince Edward visits Karura Forest (18).jpg
Prince Edward seen here with Nairobi Head of Conservancy and scouts in the background. 

The Earl of Wessex Prince Edward who is also a son of the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth recently visited Karura forest courtesy of Friends of Karura whose patron is Mrs. Alice Macaire the spouce of the British High Commissioner to Kenya. Accompanied by the British High Commisioner Amb. Rob Macaire, the Prince was taken through the history and features of Karura forest which is in the process of transforming itself into an ecotourism and recreational site by the Head of Nairobi Conservancy Mrs. Charity Munyasia for the benefit of Nairobi city.

The Earl was shown the just concluded electric fence which was built by stakeholders mobilized by Friends of Karura. He was also able to visit the famous Karura caves which as he was rightly told was a haven for freedom fighters during the war for Kenya’s independence. He then visited the Karura Falls and delighted in washing his hands in the cold waters of River Karura.

Prince Edward was later hosted to an evening tea party at the edges of the very scenic Karura swamp right in the middle of the forest where other local and diplomatic dignitaries joined in.

Report by Leakey Sonkoyo

Monday, September 20, 2010

Water Towers Conservation Fund Now Gazetted

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance has published in the Kenya Gazette the regulations establishing the Water Towers Conservation Fund. The Fund will support the restoration, conservation and sustainable management of the Mau Forests Complex and the other waters towers in Kenya in an equitable, efficient and transparent manner.
The regulations were prepared by the Interim Coordinating Secretariat, the Ministry for Finance and the Attorney-General Chambers after consultation with other relevant ministries. The establishment of the Fund is part of the Interim Coordinating Secretariat’s mandate which includes “to develop the framework for long-term measures to restore and sustainably manage the Mau Forests Complex and other water towers”.
In line with the regulations, the Office of the Prime Minister, being the ministry for the time being responsible for the coordination of the rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of the Mau Forests Complex and other water towers, will operationalize and administer the Fund.
The Fund will be managed by a National Water Towers Management Committee that will comprise eight members:
- The Chairman who shall not be a public officer, appointed by virtue of his knowledge and experience in matter relating to good governance and the management of public resources;
- The Permanent Secretaries from the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and Ministry of Water and Irrigation; and,
- Four other persons appointed by virtue of their knowledge and experience in matters relating to the management of public resources, financial management, restoration, sustainable management and conservation of natural resources, including forest, land and water resources and mainstreaming of poverty reduction strategies in sustainable rural development.
Kindly peruse the notice by clicking the link provided in the Mau Restoration Website

Report courtesy of the Interim Coordinating Secretariat (ICS)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finnish Journalists Tour Mau Forest

A group of journalists drawn from Finland's leading media houses yesterday made a tour of the Mau Forests Complex to view reforestation efforts by Government agencies, private individuals and community groups. The tour organised by the Finnish Embassy in Nairobi and led by Forestry Specialist Mr. Julius Kamau.

During a courtesy call on the Head of Mau Conservancy, the group was taken through the work being done by Kenya Forest Service in an effort to reclaim and reforest the dilapidated sections of the forest. They were taken round the area by Regional Commandant, Mau Brig. (Rtd) Hesborn Lwoyelo.

Other areas visited by the group courtesy of FOMAWA, were Kenana Farm, St. Joseph's Primary School, Mazingira Tree Nursery as well as a meeting with the Nessuit Ogiek Community.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Ceramic Stove Eases Strain On African Forests

A cooking stove that has become popular in Kenya and neighbouring countries has taken pressure off Africa’s threatened forests by reducing the demand for wood and charcoal.
IDRC began supporting research that led to the marketing of the ceramic Jiko stove in the mid-1980s, amid growing concern about deforestation and desertification. Today, surveys show that 80% of households in urban Nairobi and Mombasa use the domestic version of the stove, reducing their fuel consumption by up to 50%, reports Kenyan energy expert Stephen Karekezi.
Developed by the Kenyan agency KENGO, the ceramic Jiko now “has become almost the standard stove in Kenya,” he says.
Karekezi, a former regional manager for KENGO and now director of the Energy, Environment and Development Network for Africa, adds that several thousand institutional-scale Jiko stoves have been distributed within Kenya. Large numbers have also been exported to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and other countries.
The big institutional demand for firewood is one reason the larger stoves became a prime focus for IDRC in the 1980s, says former IDRC project officer Ron Ayling. “When you have a reasonably large school of 100 kids, they would go through quite a bit of wood cooking meals,” he says.
Karekezi agrees: “It’s clear that a major source of deforestation is the institutional use of wood. You can see trucks going to institutions with wood specifically cut down for that use.”
With a smaller combustion chamber and insulated sides that ensure less heat is wasted, the ceramic Jiko boosts the efficient use of wood. In homes, where charcoal is used, the greener technology also delivers an economic dividend. It allows poor families to use money otherwise spent on fuel toward the purchase of food.

Report Courtesy of

Forests really do have healing touch

Washington, July 24 : The next time someone says 'hug a tree', go ahead and do it, as forests - and other natural, green settings - certainly have some healing effects on health and mind.
Researchers have claimed that forests can reduce stress, improve moods, reduce anger and aggressiveness and increase overall happiness.

Forest visits may also strengthen our immune system by increasing the activity and number of natural killer cells that destroy cancer cells.

"Many people feel relaxed and good when they are out in nature. But not many of us know that there is also scientific evidence about the healing effects of nature," said Dr. Eeva Karjalainen, of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla.

Many studies show that after stressful or concentration-demanding situations, people recover faster and better in natural environments than in urban settings.

Blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the level of "stress hormones" all decrease faster in natural settings.

Depression, anger and aggressiveness are reduced in green environments and ADHD symptoms in children reduce when they play in green settings.

In addition to mental and emotional well-being, more than half of the most commonly prescribed drugs include compounds derived from nature - for example Taxol, used against ovarian and breast cancer, is derived from yew trees, while Xylitol, which can inhibit caries, is produced from hardwood bark.

"Preserving green areas and trees in cities is very important to help people recover from stress, maintain health and cure diseases. There is also monetary value in improving people''s working ability and reducing health care costs." said Karjalainen.

Karjalainen will coordinate a session on the health benefits of forests at the 2010 IUFRO World Forestry Congress in Seoul.

Report Coursty of ANI

New law will help replenish forest cover- Isaac Kalua

Posted Sunday, August 15 2010 at 19:37
With a miserable forest cover of about two per cent coupled with other issues of climate change, Kenya faces numerous environmental challenges that have adversely affected the ecosystem and livelihoods.
The new Constitution hopes to reinstate the forest cover, firmly deal with the challenges of climate change, and better lives. We must think green and act green!
The following suggestions may enable Kenya to increase its forest cover to 10 per cent while enhancing good health and improving livelihoods through environmental conservation efforts.
The government should address double gazettement of forests such as Mt Kenya and Shimba Hills at the Coast. The two have been gazetted as forests, and at the same time as national and game reserves.
But whereas the Forests Act 2005 allows community participation in conservation, the Wildlife Act doesn’t. This has adversely affected conservation.
Not only are the lead agencies, the Kenya Forest Services (KFS) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) at a loss on who should take charge of the areas, our partners are unsure who to deal with.
The KFS has an acute shortage of staff which has seen cases of destruction escalating in most parts of the country.
The government should recruit more forest guards, purchase vehicles and helicopters for surveillance of the forests, procure fire-fighting equipment, and train the guards in fire-fighting techniques.
Sustainability of the forestry sector depends on its self-financing ability. Currently, the sector heavily relies on donor support.
The government should speed up the implementation of forest reforms to revitalise the saw-milling sector that has demonstrated an ability to make the enterprise sustainable.
The government may not have the capacity to replant the forests destroyed, nor to deal with all the challenges brought about by climate change globally.
I suggest, therefore, that it speeds up the process of bringing on board various development partners who may include governments, the private sector, local and international NGOs, and various agencies with interest in conserving the environment as a core business or as a corporate social responsibility initiative.
The Concessioning Framework being developed by KFS should be fast-tracked since once endorsed, it will automatically overrule the 1999 logging ban that has muted growth in the sector by watering down partnership possibilities.
The Forests Act 2005 should be strictly enforced as it provides for tough procedures before excisions take place. The requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment, and a process that must have Parliament’s endorsement has effectively deterred casual degazettement.
A case in point is the attempted construction of a radioactive waste disposal facility at Oloolua Forest and the construction of Nyandarua North District headquarters in Ndaragwa Forest, Nyahururu.
The government should not proceed with these constructions inside gazetted forests. Parliament should outlaw any further excision of forests and introduce stiffer penalties for those engaged in destroying the environment.
Dr Kalua is the founder chairperson of the Green Africa Foundation.

Timber-starved Kenya seeks new suppliers

August 16 2010 
A chronic timber shortage has hit Kenya forcing the country to turn to expensive imports from neighbouring countries.
Latest statistics indicate that the country spends more than Ksh3 billion ($37.5 million) annually on timber imports compared with Ksh4.9 million ($61,250) in 1999, to meet rising demand that now stands at 38 million cubic metres annually.
Industry players blame the huge cost gap to the increased timber prices — from Ksh8,000 ($1,000) to more than Ksh30,000 ($375).
Since a logging ban was imposed by the government in March 2000, Tanzania has been the chief source of timber for Kenya’s construction industry.
But with the construction boom in Nairobi, the country is now turning to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola’s Cabinda area for more supplies.
“We have exhausted the Tanzanian market. The country is now sourcing its timber from the equatorial rainforest despite being costly to most consumers. The prices have appreciated and in turn this has depressed the construction industry,” the Kenya Forests Working Group national co-ordinator Rudolf Makhanu told The EastAfrican.
Mr Makhanu said prior to the ban, most of the timber in the local market was sourced from gazetted forest plantations.
“There was a shortage of timber after the ban but the supply gradually improved as demand was met from farms and increased importation. Unfortunately, most farmers have already sold their mature trees and are now selling immature trees. Worse is the fact that there is no incentive for farmers engaged in tree farming,” he said.
The once main plantation species such as cypress and pine, which accounted for over 80 per cent of the country’s total plantation area, are now at risk of extinction.
Their prices have also more than quadrupled.
The shortage has resulted in thousands of Kenyans losing jobs, at a time the country is facing massive youth unemployment.
Prices of timber products have also increased with coffins, for example, which used to go for Ksh15,000 ($188) now trading at approximately Ksh60,000 ($750).
There are fears that the recently rejuvenated 87,000-tonne capacity Webuye Paper Mills will run into trouble again due to intermittent supplies.
Sources indicate the former Pan African Paper Mills is desperately entering into partnership with tree farmers in a bid to sustain its operations.
“The company had been protected by high import duties and bureaucratic licensing procedures but still went under last year. What makes us think it will not collapse, again, soon?” A source at the paper manufacturer said.
Efforts by The EastAfrican to get comments from the firm’s acting managing director Alexander Gatimbu failed as calls and text messages went unanswered

Report Courtesy of East African

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why Mau restoration has stalled

Reached for comment, ICS chairman Hassan Noor Hassan sought to downplay the funds crisis.  Photo/ FILE
Reached for comment, ICS chairman Hassan Noor Hassan sought to downplay the funds crisis. Photo/ FILE 

Efforts to restore the Mau Forest Complex, the country’s largest water tower, are threatened by budgetary constraints, the Sunday Nation has learnt.
While the third phase of the restoration targeting the Maasai Mau should have been initiated four months ago, a spot check indicated that the survey has not been completed.
And settlers were going on with their activities with no immediate concerns over impending evictions. Retired Senior Chief Christopher Bore, who was a member of the Mau Task Force but who declined to sign its findings, said settlers would not budge until they were compensated.
No money
“Settlers are not going anywhere as they have nowhere to go back to. The government does not seem to have the money to compensate them,” Mr Bore said at Sierra Leone, an area which bore the brunt of the 2005 evictions.
And while government officials suggested that the August 4 referendum might have delayed the exercise, a member of the Interim Coordinating Secretariat (ICS), who did not wish to be named, said Treasury failed to honour its promise to budget for funds for the remaining three phases of resettlement.
“For me, the whole thing boils down to money. We need to be supported; we need money to resettle those who have genuine title (deeds),” the official said. The official, while expressing frustration at the pace of the restoration, said logging was going on unabated in various parts of the forests.
Efforts to reach the Kenya Forest Service for comment were unsuccessful as our calls were not returned. Reached for comment, ICS chairman Hassan Noor Hassan sought to downplay the funds crisis, saying the secretariat had not reached the point where they would need money for compensation.
“We are at the moment analysing data, and in a month’s time, we should be able to advise the government on how much it needs to compensate those who qualify,” he said in a phone interview. In any case the Mau restoration has other sources of funding besides the Treasury, he said.
In June Mr Noor was upbeat that Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta had made allowances in the Budget for funds to be used to compensate those with genuine land ownership documents. But while Mr Kenyatta gave the national climate change strategy an additional Sh13.4 billion and another Sh2 billion for the carbon emission trading scheme, it was not clear how much of these funds would trickle down to the Mau Forest restoration.
Mr Noor said his secretariat, in conjunction with the Treasury, was at an advanced stage of rolling out a scheme to raise the much needed money for conservation. “We have held three meetings, and I can assure you that once we roll this out, Mau restoration will not require a cent from the government. It will sustain itself,” he said.
According to a document entitled Rehabilitation of Mau Forest Ecosystem, the ICS needs Sh7.1 billion for the exercise. Mary Ombara, deputy communications director at the Lands ministry, downplayed the delay in the survey but confirmed that surveyors were waiting for money to continue with the exercise which, she said, was half completed.
According to the restoration timetable, titles should be ready now for South Western Mau, Transmara, Olpusimoru and Maasai Mau blocks. Some 15,000 people are settled on the 46,278- hectare Maasai Mau, which is a trust land of the Narok County Council. Past evictions in the area have been acrimonious.
Another group of settlers, some of whom are still living in camps, were last year removed from the South Western Mau in a forceful manner that attracted a lot of criticism from Rift Valley politicians and human rights activists.
Slow pace
On the perceived slow pace of the restoration, Mr Noor said the 24,000 families in all the 22 blocks of the forest cannot be moved in one fell swoop without causing unmitigated disaster. He admitted that some logging was going on and called for lifting the ban on plantation logging.
“The ban on plantation logging has gone on for far too long. It needs to be lifted to ease pressure on indigenous forests like the Mau,” he said. Indiscriminate degazettement and encroachment into the country’s biggest canopy forest over the last 10 years has led to the destruction of 116,000 hectares, which represents more than 27 per cent of the entire Mau Complex area.
Report Courtesy of Daily Nation