Kenya Forestry professionals applaud President’s green light for logging

Kenya: The forestry industry is celebrating a significant development as President William Ruto has given the green light for logging operations to resume in public and community forests across the nation.

Kenya Forestry professionals applaud President's green light for logging
Kenya Forestry professionals applaud President's green light for logging Image credit: Facebook

Kenya: The forestry industry is celebrating a significant development as President William Ruto has given the green light for logging operations to resume in public and community forests across the nation.

This decision has been met with overwhelming support and applause from forestry professionals who believe it will bring numerous benefits to the industry, environment, and economy.

The forestry professionals spoke on Thursday during a consultative meeting on logging organized by the Environment Institute of Kenya in Nairobi. The meeting brought together professionals that included the Forestry Society of Kenya (FSK), Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Tree Biotechnology Programme Trust, Scholars, Environmentalists, and the Kenya Forest Service.

The forum also brought the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and various media houses on board.

“With environmental concerns and sustainability measures in mind, the government’s decision to authorize logging in industrial plantation forests is a carefully calculated move to promote responsible forestry practices. It recognizes the importance of balancing economic growth and job creation with the need for sustainable resource management,” said Benjamin Wamugunda, Chairman of the Forestry Society of Kenya.

The forestry professionals argued that well-regulated and sustainable logging can be key in promoting forest health and biodiversity. By selectively harvesting industrial plantation trees, KFS can effectively manage forest ecosystems, allowing for the replanting and growth of more diverse and resilient tree species.

Image credit: Facebook

KFS industrial forest plantations comprise Cypress, Pine, and Eucalyptus exotic tree species. These exotic species occupy less than 6% of the 2.49 million Ha—gazetted forests.

Functionality for management of plantation forests is provided for in the Forest Conservation and Management Act no. 34 of 2016 under sections 43, 44, 45, 47, 57, 59, and 60.

Representing the Ag. Chief Conservator of Forests, Alex Lemarkoko, the Ag. Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests, Andrew Soi, said the Service will only harvest trees within the plantation forest areas. He noted that the annual allowable cut is 5,000 Ha. in a 30-year rotation cycle.

He added that measures have been implemented to ensure adherence to harvesting protocols. Adding that execution of penalties in case of flouting these protocols will be swift and punitive to all parties involved.

Logging can help prevent wildfires by removing dead or dying trees that can act as fuel for catastrophic blazes. The measure is crucial, considering the recent dry spell that increased devastating forest fires, causing significant environmental damage.

Kaberia Kamenchu, Chairman of the Timber, Wood, and Furniture Sector in the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, noted that the President’s decision will boost the economy. He added that the forestry industry is a major contributor to national GDP and employment, particularly in rural areas where logging forms a significant part of the local economy.

By resuming logging operations, the government seeks to create more job opportunities, drive economic growth, and improve the livelihoods of countless individuals and communities nationwide.

Moreover, the timber industry plays a crucial role in producing versatile and renewable timber. Timber is widely used in construction, furniture making, and various other industries. By enabling plantation forest harvesting activities, the government aims to meet the growing demand for timber while ensuring sustainable practices are in place.

Critics of the decision argue that increased logging could lead to deforestation and harm delicate ecosystems. However, the forestry professionals explain that this move doesn’t imply disregarding environmental protection. Instead, it emphasizes responsible logging practices that align with strict regulations and sustainable approaches to balance conservation and economic development.

The government’s decision to give the green light for logging reflects a commitment to the responsible management of natural resources. It recognizes the important role forestry professionals play in safeguarding forest health, increasing biodiversity, and meeting the demand for timber while creating economic opportunities.

By striking a harmonious balance between conservation and economic growth, the President’s decision has garnered widespread support from forestry professionals. It sets a positive precedent for other nations to follow, highlighting the potential to reconcile environmental concerns with the vitality of the forestry sector.

As a result, the future of sustainable forest plantation management remains bright, promising both economic prosperity and sound environmental stewardship.