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Improving Capacity in Forest Resource Assessment in Kenya (IC-FRA) project- Major boost to Kenya`s Forestry Sector

By Michael Muratha

 

Kenya's forest resources are important for economic, environmental and social welfare of the nation. Forests provide a wide range of products and services such as raw materials for wood industry, soil stabilization, non-wood forest products, wildlife habitats, biodiversity, water catchments and religious gloves and shrines among many other uses.

Thus there is need to conduct an inventory based on statistically sound sampling design, careful field work and advanced data analysis to provide reliable information on Kenya's forest resources. In line with this, the Government of Kenya through Kenya Forest Service in partnership with the Government of Finland through the Miti Ming Maisha Bora Project embarked on a journey to carry out a pilot inventory on trees and forest resources in five pilot areas covering different vegetation types. These vegetation types included Forest plantations, Natural forests and bamboo, Woodlands, Mangroves and on farm trees through a project dubbed Improving Capacity in Forest Resources in Kenya (IC-FRA).

 

The project which received funding from both governments’ began in February 2013 and came to a halt in December 2015. A number of agencies were engaged to provide the implementing role including Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Department of Resources Survey and Remote Sensing, the University of Eldoret and the Natural Resources Institute of Finland (Luke). It is through these implementing agencies that the project was successfully with numerous results being achieved. Key among them is the development of a proposal of a National Forest Resources Assessment (NFRA) plan. The detailed proposal contains a number of important field manuals including; Field Manual for Biophysical Forest Resources, Field Manual for Tree Volume and Biomass Modelling, Manual for preparation and organic carbon analysis from forest soil and mangrove sediment samples and a technical report on Sampling Design Simulations for NFRA in Kenya.

 

To strengthen the NFRA proposal the project recently held a workshop at the Utalii hotel to launch nine key documents which will act as reference materials and provide a clear road map for implementing the NFRA proposal which is the first of its kind in the country. The forest resources assessment will further be a big plus to the country as it will provide critical information including forest health & vitality, socio economic functions of forests, growth of the growing stock, and information on carbon stock which will help the country in both National and International reporting and the implementation of REDD+.  

 

Speaking during the workshop Project Manager, IC-FRA Peter Nduati commended the implementing agencies more so the technical working group and the Project Board that worked day and night to see the success of the project.

KFS Senior Deputy Director Field Operations Esau Omollo (left) receives the nine documents from Project Manager (IC-FRA) Peter Nduati (right) and Helena Haakana of Natural Resources Institute of Finland, Luke (centre)

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