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State extends logging ban by six months

Environment Secretary Keriako Tobiko. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Environment Secretary Keriako Tobiko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The government has extended the 90-day ban on logging in community and public forests by a further six months.

This, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko said, was to allow the sector back on its feet, to be able to regulate the wanton felling of trees threatening Kenya’s ecosystem.

The six-month period will also allow the government to form a new Kenya Forest Service (KFS) board after the term of the previous one expired.

“The government has extended the moratorium on logging in public and community forests for a further period of six months so as to allow for the appointment of the new KFS board and the interim reforms implementation committee to be finalised and to undertake immediate measures to streamline the operations of KFS and the management of the sector,” Mr Tobiko said in a statement Wednesday.

The committee Mr Tobiko referred to was formed out of a task force report that looked into the extent of forest destruction of forests chaired by Green Belt Movement Chairperson Marion Kamau.

Audit

In its report, the task force called for an audit of the KFS board, as well as a lifestyle audit of senior officials in the ministry and the board.

The report, which also called for a review of logging licences, was presented on May 17, and its recommendations were still being implemented, Mr Tobiko said.

The logging ban was first effected in February.

“Deforestation, degradation and encroachment of water towers and other catchment areas, uncontrolled human activities including wanton logging have threatened and undermined the country’s capability to ensure food security.

"This situation poses a threat to the achievement of the Big Four agenda items of the Jubilee Government,” Deputy President William Ruto said when he announced the ban.

After a protest from private loggers, the government in April clarified that harvesting and felling of timber in private plantations and woodlots could still go on, “provided there is a joint verification and confirmation of source and origin."

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