|The President of AWF Prof. Hellen Gichohi plants a tree at the Enderit Forest Block in the Mau Narok Forest as the Chairman of the ICS Mr. Hassan Noor Hassan looks on|
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) hosted a tree planting exercise in Mau Narok Forest at the Enderit Forest Station in May that was sponsored by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) with the aim of restoring degraded parts of the mighty Mau Forest Complex.
Among the organizations that participated in the event were the Ministries of Forestry and Wildlife, Environment and Mineral Resources, the Interim Coordinating Secretariat of Mau Forest (ICS), The Provincial Administration, Kenya Wildlife Service, Serena Hotels, National Environmental Fund and Living Light Foundation among many others.
The Chairman of the ICS Mr. Hassan Noor Hassan who was the key speaker in the event said that the main aim for the tree planting exercises was to reinstate the Mau Forest after it had undergone immense destruction in the previous years. He added that the hydro power potential of Mau was 547 mega watts which was more than a third of the country’s energy production. He also said that the process of reclaiming the entire Mau was still ongoing and 50,000 hectares of forest land had already been reclaimed and returned to the jurisdiction of KFS.
Mr. Hassan Noor said that the destruction of Mau forest complex had reduced by 70% due to the joint protection patrols by various law enforcement agencies led by KFS and supported by the local community. The chairman stated that conservation and rehabilitation of forests was not meant to raise conflicts with forest adjacent communities but rather to build synergies with them for the sustainable management of concerned forests.
Addressing the same gathering, the President of Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Prof. Hellen Gichohi said that in order to save the wildlife in Kenya, there was need to first save the forests. She added that carbon trade was a good business venture of Kenyans if the Mau and other forest lands were to be reclaimed and conserved for purposes of carbon sequestration. She mentioned that AWF was holding consultations with the government which may see the headquarters of the AWF come to Kenya.
Speaking on behalf of the KFS Director, the Senior Assistant Director incharge of watersheds Mr. Benedict Omondi noted that the government through KFS was doing all it can to restore forestry resources. He added that the Service was planning to rehabilitate at least 5000 hectares in the Mau Forest Complex alone.
Article and picture by Ken Gichuki