Kenya: Communities onboard to attain 30% tree cover, says Job Chirchir

Kenya: The Kenya Forest Service Board Chairman, Job Chirchir, has directed Service officers to fully bring onboard communities in forest restoration with specific emphasis on tree planting to attain 30% tree cover by the year 2032.

Kenya: Communities onboard to attain 30% tree cover, says Job Chirchir
Kenya: Communities onboard to attain 30% tree cover, says Job Chirchir Image credit: Facebook

Kenya: The Kenya Forest Service Board Chairman, Job Chirchir, has directed Service officers to fully bring onboard communities in forest restoration with specific emphasis on tree planting to attain 30% tree cover by the year 2032.

Chirchir, who spoke at the end of a three-day working tour of Meru and Nyeri Counties, also urged officers to boldly communicate and replicate innovative approaches in restoring severely degraded forest areas.

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He led a team of KFS Board Directors who included Vice Chairman Zakayo Maina, Dr George Muthike (Chairman of the Board Technical Committee), Ahmed Mohamed Ibrahim (Chairman of the Board Human Resource Committee), and Peter Leitoro (Representative of the PS State Department of Forestry) in several KFS facilities in the counties including forest sites, rangers’ housing facilities, as well as an outpost in Gathiuru Forest.

The team also visited several sites rehabilitated by the Green Zones Development Support Project Phase II (GZDSP II), jointly funded by the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank. Jerome Mwanzia, Project Manager GZDSP II, presented project activities to the team, highlighting implementation achievements and lessons.

Throughout their visit, the team interacted closely with beneficiaries of the project’s interventions in both counties. The beneficiaries include those involved in restoring severely degraded sites, engaged in income-generating activities, and groups involved in plantation establishment and livelihood improvement schemes (PELIS).

Beneficiaries shared narratives of transformation courtesy of the project activities. Dorothy, a Meru Community Forest Association member, shared how she participated in the restoration of 44 Ha degraded site in 2007 to a now flourishing forest where her CFA has now placed beehives as an income-generating activity. She said her group has now diversified to ecotourism.

Chirchir emphasized that community involvement in forest restoration and increased tree planting is a sure way to attain 30% tree cover. He said that communities must be central and fully engaged in the entire process, from seedlings production to tree planting and ensuring the survival of planted sites.

David Chege, Ag., the commandant who represented Alex Lemarkoko, the Chief Conservator of Forests, said the Service will continue to engage multiple stakeholders towards attaining 30% tree cover. He noted that communities would be at the centre and key players in all initiatives associated with tree planting and forest protection.

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