KFS recalls officers from leave as forest protection efforts intensify

Kenya Forest Service has recalled all of its officers from leave so they can help effect the ban against logging in North Rift forests.

Gazetted forests in the region cover 292,000 hectares.

Dedan Nderitu, who is the region’s Chief Conservator, said on Monday that rangers were recalled and sent to key forests including Embobut, Cheranganyi, Mt Elgon and Kaptagat.

“We have put all our officers on alert. Surveillance is high to ensure the three-month moratorium is followed to the letter,” Nderitu said at his office in Eldoret.

He added more rangers were hired and that they were also working with community forest associations due to low staff numbers.

The official reported fewer cases of disregard for the ban and appealed to saw millers to observe it. But on Embobut Forest, he noted challenges including illegal grazing, tree poaching and encroachment.

Nderitu asked the community forest association members to be vigilant and report any incidents of violations.

“We are very committed to the protection of our water towers,” he said, adding the service had organised the planting of more than 25 million tree seedlings in the region.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago wants the ban extended to a year so counties and other stakeholders initiate plans to increase forest cover.

He said it must be implemented strictly and that those found contravening it must be punished.

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