Monday, April 18, 2011

KFS Sponsors a Golf Tournament

A golfer putts at the Njoro Country Club during the KFS sponsored tournament

The KFS Deputy Director Finance and Accounting Mr. Peter Ruto (l) hands over the winner's prize to Mr. Manyara (r)
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) recently hosted a golf tournament at Njoro Country Club meant to promote the planting of trees as a way of mitigating the unfavorable climatic conditions that the country has been experiencing in the recent past.
The event that was dubbed ‘Plant a Tree Golf Challenge’ involved members of the club who are local businessmen and farmers and KFS officers among other invited players. Speaking at the prize giving ceremony, the Deputy Director for Finance and Accounting at KFS Mr. Peter Ruto thanked the chairman of the club hosting the successful tournament that attracted over 60 participants.
He noted that it was the most ideal place to hold the event as golf courses are surrounded with trees. He mentioned that KFS was ready to partner with the members and other stakeholders to achieve a ten percent forest cover by the year 2030. He encouraged land owners to spare ten percent of their land so as to plant trees in order to realize the target.
Mr. Charles Ngunjiri, a Corporate Communications Officer in KFS said that KFS was very much concerned about the management of the Kenya’s forests and was in the process of reforming to improve on their management through participatory forest management.
Speaking at the same event the Forest Zonal Manager Nakuru Mr. Anthony Mukundi, noted that the tournament was a fantastic idea as it linked golf to forests which is an innovative way of promoting eco-tourism in the country. He added that forests were inseparable from human beings since they provide essential resources for their survival.
The winner’s trophy went to Mr. Manyara while Mrs. Susan Nyambura won the ladies trophy. Mr. Owino Ochiel of KFS scooped the guest’s prize.
Story by, Ken Gichuki
Pictures by Mercy Ogolla

The 2011 National Tree Planting Season Launched

A member of the community plants a tree at Shamanek Forest Station during the national tree planting launch

The KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua addressing members of the public during the launch

Members of the public on the Gilgil Nyahururu route being entertained by a roadshow crew which was publicizing the national tree planting launch

The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa waters a tree he planted at Shamanek Forest Station during the launch

A KFS Ranger was also not left behind in the quest to rehabilitate Shamanek Forest

The 2011 tree planting season commenced  recently at Shamanek Forest Station in Marmanet Forest, Nyandarua Forest Zone amid pomp and colour in a ceremony officiated by the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife Hon Dr Noah Wekesa. Other dignitaries in attendance included the area MP Hon Nderitu Muriithi who is also the Assistant Minister for Industrialization, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Mr Mohammed Wa-Mwachai, Chairman Kenya Forest Servicen (KFS) Board Prof. Richard Musangi among others.
Addressing the gathering, Hon. Wekesa said that the rehabilitation of the badly degraded forest was going to be a priority activity that would be done together with the community. He said that those who would be evicted from the forest would be allocated an acre each in the Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS) programme where they would till the land for three years while caring for seedlings planted to rehabilitate the forest.
The Minister noted that his ministry through KFS had raised over 100 million tree seedlings for planting in the 2011 planting season. He added that this was among other efforts to ensure that investments in tree planting have the highest impacts on Kenyans financial status in the long term and yield the highest returns. He said that the country had lost about 30,000 hectares of forest through deforestation, degradation and land use conversion.  “Kenyans dependence on wood fuel as as the primary source of energy for domestic use is also putting a lot of pressure on existing forestry resources”, added the Minister.
The KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua while addressing the same gathering noted that the Service continued facing challenges especially from land speculators who still insist on settling on forest land. He added that KFS would not relent in its efforts to reclaim forest land not properly delineated for the common benefit of all Kenyans.  
“It is our mandate to increase Kenya’s forest cover to10 per cent and we encouraging people to plant trees as an income generating activity”, said the Director.
Story by Caroline Wambui
Pictures by Vincent Bwire

Guideline Booklets on Planting of Eucalyptus Launched

The host farmer Mr. James Kimuri, shares with the participants of the booklets launch the benefits of growing the Eucalyptus Tree

The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa plants a Eucalyptus Tree at the venue of launch
The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Dr Noah Wekesa on Monday launched a booklet meant to guide farmers on Eucalyptus growing and use in Kenya.  The well attended occasion held at Kiawathanji  in Nyeri county, was graced by many Dignitaries among them the Minister of forestry and wildlife, Permanent Secretary, Chairman  Kenya Forest Service, Director KFS, Director KEFRI among others.
In his speech, the Minister assertively noted that Eucalyptus trees are lost at a time when the country is under pressure to conserve its forest cover amid rising demand for land from a surging population. ‘The tree was unfairly demonized before research had been done on its true effects on the environment’.    He also warned that evictions from gazetted forests would continue, emphasizing that Kenya was the only country that people settled in forests because in other countries then one would be behind bars. So it was imperative that Kenyans separate politics from matters of preserving forests so that we achieve 10 per cent cover by 2030. Thus the importance of setting aside 10 per cent of individual land to plant trees.
 He however commended the host farmer Mr  James Kimuri  for his good work  that was easily visible in the beautiful   Eucalyptus forest in his home. Mr. James also had a chance to comment and told of the gains he had derived from the eucalyptus tree since he began cultivating it years ago. In his own words he said ‘There before I had coffee on my farm but the returns were not as much. The trees take a short period of between five to seven years to mature, I can get 3,000per tree since I can sell them in form of poles and firewood to tea factories around’. It was noted that Nyeri  County had planted 90% of trees with a 30% tree cover.
The Kenya Forest Service Director Mr David K Mbugua who was also in attendance emphasized the use of eucalyptus tree as a buffer for people who need trees and the indigenous forest. He acknowledged that the eucalyptus fulfils the needs that would be met by people cutting down indigenous trees. Since over 80 per cent of Kenyans use wood fuel the demand for wood is high, thus eucalyptus come in handy since it matures faster, and so it is an idea by KFS to make it a business and ensure it is embraced by a vast number of people. He then promised that he would ensure the books launched   would be translated in a language that would be easy for people to comprehend. The book contains among other information ten species of Eucalyptus that can be grown in Kenya, areas suitable for planting, areas to avoid, management among other useful information that could see you reap excellent results from planting Eucalyptus.
Story by Caroline Wambui
Pictures by Vincent Bwire

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Raila meets Bill Clinton in NY

NEW YORK, Apr 12 - Former US President Bill Clinton has pledged more support for initiatives meant to protect the environment in Kenya.
Mr Clinton particularly promised support for programmes that would reduce pressure on forests and protect water towers and water bodies.
During a meeting with Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the Clinton Foundation offices in New York, the former President promised to help set up an operation that would provide stoves that use fuels other than charcoal in Kenya and distribute them in villages where wood remains the main source of fuel.
Mr Odinga briefed the former US President on progress on the restoration of the Mau Forest Complex and the new drive to restore Lake Naivasha. 
The Clinton Foundation has provided support to the Mau restoration effort. The former President said conserving the environment, particularly having people to stop destroying forests is a sensitive matter that requires courageous leadership.
Mr Clinton thanked Mr Odinga for showing enthusiasm towards saving the environment saying it is a service to the entire globe.
He said he would be willing to support Kenya’s conservation efforts through programmes that would make people stop destroying forests without losing their source of livelihood.
The former President said the stoves that use fuels other than charcoal would provide charcoal burners with alternative sources of income when they stop destroying forests.
He said he would also be willing to help Kenya explore possibilities of turning its turns of garbage into fuel and thus reduce pressure on forests.
“I will be happy to help with either of these initiatives in Kenya. Anything that can win people from destroying forests and charcoal burning in particular is worth trying. I am willing to provide start up money for these initiatives,” the former President said.
He said that in some countries where the use of the stoves has been promoted, cutting of forests has reduced by up to 75 per cent.
Mr Clinton said he would partner with the government in saving Lake Naivasha.
The PM said Lake Naivasha is unique as the only one in the Great Rift Valley system that has fresh water. The two leaders also discussed the progress in Free Primary Education and the state of the Kenyan economy.
Mr Odinga leaves New York on Tuesday for Washington, DC, where he is set to meet US Vice President Joe Biden, among other US Government officials.

Kenya's Prime Minister Rt Hon. Raila Odinga and Former US President Bill Clinton In Newyork recently



Kenya needs Ksh 7.6 billion to reach 10% forest cover by the Year 2030

Kenya requires Kshs 7.6 billion annually to purchase 384 million seedlings in order to meet the United Nations’ requirement of a 10% forest cover by the year 2030 – the Kenya Forestry and Wildlife ministry has revealed.
The revelation was made during the commemoration of the World Forest Day in Karura Forest where 2011 was launched, as the International Year of Forests in Kenya. UNEP’s Executive Director, Mr. Achim Steiner, was the chief guest. Nobel Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai, who has been at the forefront of championing for the protection of Kenyan forests, was also in attendance.
According to the World Rainforest Movement, Kenya’s forests are rapidly declining (according to, this is about 12,000 ha per year – about 0.3% deforestation) due to pressure from increased population, fuel wood, building material and other land uses. A huge section of Kenya is arid and semi-arid. This puts huge a huge strain on the rest of the land since the economy is natural resource based.
FAO’s Forest Resource Assessment of 1990, classifies Kenya among the countries with low forest cover of less than 2% of the total land area ( reports a figure of 1.2% which is about 704,000 ha). The dwindling forest cover has a severe effect on climate, wildlife, streams and human population – especially forest dwellers.
Kenya is endowed with a collection of forests ranging from coastal forest, central High Mountain forests to the thick wet rainforests found in the Western parts of the country. These forests support more than just an assortment of tree and plant species; they are also the habitat of a wide range of wildlife including families of monkey, rare chameleons, elephant herds, elusive leopards, colourful butterflies and of course abundant birdlife.
Kenyan forests offer the traveler numerous options to choose from. From Arabuko Sokoke located north of the coastal town of Mombasa to the Aberdares in the Mount Kenya region and the equatorial rain forest of Kakamega in western Kenya and the Karura forest, the list is endless.
Perhaps the most significant of these forests are the so-called water towers of Kenya – Mount Kenya and Mau forests. These highland forests are known to absorb, store and gradually release rain water. The Mau forest complex is located in the Great Rift Valley covering an area of 273,300 ha. It is the single largest water catchment area in Kenya with numerous rivers originating from the forest, including Ewaso Ng’iro, Sondu, Mara and Njoro Rivers.
This is the power and potential in our forests and this is part of what the Nobel peace laureate was risking her life for a few years ago. The founder of the Green Belt Movement, an environmental Non-Governmental Organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation among others, Professor Maathai believes that the problem of forest degradation is yet to be completely resolved in Kenya going by the rapid siltation of rivers which she attributes to the felling of trees.

Source: Enchanted Landscapes Travelogue