The Kenya Forest Service Director Mr. David K. Mbugua has launched the Kereita forest management plan, the blueprint for participatory forest management. The forest management plan is the platform that will guide the activities that the community will undertake in the forest with the support of the Service and stakeholders in the forestry sector.
During the event, Mr. Mbugua assured the community that the framework for cost-benefit sharing will soon be completed and benefits will accrue to forest adjacent communities. He noted that organizations that draw revenue from natural resources like forests should also pay for environmental services as a way of developing the sources of their revenues.
The Director said that ecotourism sites are leased out in line with the government procurement regulations. He advised the community that in order to increase their competitive edge in efforts to lease ecotourism facililities, they ought to partner sector service providers.
The community through their Community Forest Association Chairman Councillor Samuel Bernard Kamanu expressed gratitude to Mr. Mbugua for his support towards the realization of a management plan for the forest. He said Mr. Mbugua has been a frequent visitor to the forest even when he was the Chief Conservator of Forests.
Councillor Kamanu expressed the urgent need to erect a fence on a 12 Km corridor to prevent human-wildlife conflict. The CFA Chairman also sought Mr. Mbugua’s assistance to allow the community to graze their animals in the forest especially during the dry spells.
In his response, Mr. Mbugua observed that some cedar posts recovered from illegal loggers would be spared from destruction and instead, utilized for the fencing exercise. He noted that the fence was a noble idea and called upon other stakeholders to support erecting it to also halt the ongoing massive destruction of forest industrial plantations by wildlife.
Mr. Mbugua said that the recent ban on grazing would be lifted in forest areas where grazing areas have been zoned out, and carrying capacity established. He said the Service in partnership with the CFA officials will generate local rules and regulations that will guide grazing. He emphasized that grazing for a long time has been utilized as a cost effective method of controlling forest fires.
The Director encouraged the CFA to move quickly in consultation with the Service to generate forest management agreements that will allow for the implementation of the forest management plan.
By: Charles Ngunjiri, Corporate Communications Officer