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KFS gets Tobiko nod to sell timber as logging ban stays

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Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko (centre) and a Kenya Forest Service officials plant a tree at the Maasai Mau Forest during an event to mark the first anniversary of restoration efforts, October 31, 2020.

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Summary

  • The minister allowed the KFS to harvest mature forest plantations not exceeding 5,000 hectares while extending the logging ban by a year. The ban imposed in February 2018 was due to expire next Monday.
  • The State has been losing billions of shillings as mature trees rot in public and community forests due to the ban on logging on the resources last year.
  • Buyers deposit money into the Treasury account and are issued with receipts. Millers then take the receipts to forest station officers and harvest the matured trees under supervision.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has exempted the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) from a logging ban in public and community forests and allowed the agency to sell mature trees to timber merchants.

The minister allowed the KFS to harvest mature forest plantations not exceeding 5,000 hectares while extending the logging ban by a year. The ban imposed in February 2018 was due to expire next Monday.

“The details and particulars of the forest areas to be harvested and the terms and conditions applicable thereto, including replanting conditions shall be published in due course,” said Mr Tobiko in a statement yesterday.

The State has been losing billions of shillings as mature trees rot in public and community forests due to the ban on logging on the resources last year.

The ban restricted extraction of timber from the forests to give KFS more time to implement measures to protect forests.

When the trees mature, the KFS carries out an audit. Its plantation team marks the trees for sale to millers.

Buyers deposit money into the Treasury account and are issued with receipts. Millers then take the receipts to forest station officers and harvest the matured trees under supervision.

The KFS has embarked on a plan to plant indigenous trees, a departure from the past when the agency planted eucalyptus, cypress and other exotic trees.

The shift is set to boost water flow in all its five major water towers — Mount Kenya, Aberdares, Mau Forest Complex, Cherangani Hills and Mount Elgon.

Kenya has a forest cover of 7.4 per cent of its land area, compared to 12 per cent 50 years ago.