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UN-REDD Policy Board visit to Kikuyu Escarpment Forests

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Issue date: 
March 22, 2010
Publisher Name: 
Kenya Forests Blogs
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The KFS recently played host to about 50 UNDP visitors in the Kikuyu Escarpment, all of who are members of the UN REDD Policy Board. The policy members who are drawn from various countries around the world visited tree nurseries and the Kikuyu Escarpment Forest which has been partially fenced over to reduce human –wildlife conflict and conserve the forest. The visitors expressed concern about the low forest cover in the country and they sought clarification on what KFS was doing to address the situation. The team was informed of the Forest Act 2005, and the engagement of communities in forest conservation through participatory forest management framework.

The KFS is working with registered Community Forest Associations such as Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) who the UN delegates visited and learnt more about the ecotourism attractions in the Kikuyu Escarpment. The group then visited Muringa Holdings sawmill in Kinale, which has been operating at minimal capacity since the Presidential ban on logging was put in place in 1998. The KFS has been lobbying for the lifting of this partial ban on logging, in order to allow sawmills to participate in the harvesting of mature plantations, some of which are now going to waste. The delegates expressed concern over the ban on logging, which led to the loss of thousands of jobs, and they pondered on how the private sector can be involved in raising and harvesting of plantations through provision of concessions by the KFS. They also expressed the importance of encouraging tree planting as a commercial venture among farmers to deal with the timber shortage in the country.

Later on the group travelled to Naivasha, where they were given an update on the Mau Forest Ecosystem and the efforts that were being undertaken to reclaim and rehabilitate this important water tower. Mr. Anthony Maina, a member of the Interim Coordinating Secretariat (ICS) made a presentation on what the Secretariat was undertaking and he outlined the five phases of reclamation. Mr. Esau Omollo, the KFS Deputy Director Natural Forest Management also participated in this meeting and he informed the visitors of the KFS commitment to forest conservation.

The United Nations has pioneered the REDD Program in three African countries, namely Zambia, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kenya is however one of the pioneer countries in the REDD Program under the World Bank. REDD is an abbreviation for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest carbon stocks in developing countries. The basic idea in REDD+ is that tropical developing countries like Kenya, will be encouraged through incentives to: reduce the rate of deforestation and forest degradation; conserve their forests through sustainable management; and to increase areas under forest cover.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut