|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