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The 1st-Anniversary celebrations of the reclamation and restoration of Maasai Mau forest.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya Forest Service together with other Ministry SAGAs marked the 1st-anniversary celebrations of the reclamation and restoration of Maasai Mau forest 31st October, through a tree planting exercise at Senetwet Block 65 of Maasai Mau forest led by Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko alongside PS. Dr. Chris Kiptoo.

 

The planting activity, which was attended by the KFS Board led by Chairman Peter Kinyua, Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau among other CEOs, saw 110,000 indigenous trees planted on 100 ha as part of the ongoing restoration of Maasai Mau. This is part of the 13,400 ha of forest land that was reclaimed in 2019.

 

Speaking during the occasion, Tobiko noted the ecological value of Maasai Mau forest as the upper catchment of major rivers including Mara River, Amalo river, Ewaso Ngiro, Nile, Lake Victoria, Natron, Serengeti, and Maasai Mara parks among others necessitating the Government to protect the forest for the benefit of all, both current and future generations.

Tobiko stated that plans were underway to fence off Maasai Mau through MoEF to ensure the security and integrity of the Maasai Mau forest.

He appreciated the local community for voluntarily relocating from the forest area and working in partnership with the government to restore the forest. Tobiko also appreciated the Service for its steadfastness through its management in ensuring the protection of the reclaimed forest, through the Joint Enforcement Team lead by SP David Mutoro of KFS.

 

PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo recognized with appreciation the collaborative partnership towards the restoration of Senetwet block 65 where KFS contributed 44,900 indigenous tree seedlings.

Board Chairman Kinyua noted that to secure the Maasai Mau forest, KFS posted and maintained 120 rangers over the last two years in Maasai Mau and Olposimoru operation areas. He stated that the Service has employed a multi-agency approach to secure forest resources particularly against charcoal burning, and also realigning all forest boundaries to deal with encroachment and challenges of unclear boundaries. In additional Kinyua stated that the Service has rolled out an online registration of private tree nurseries countrywide to boost and ensure production of credible tree seedlings towards the attainment of a 10% tree cover by 2022.

 

CCF Kamau appreciated all partners present including ministry SAGAs for delivery of seedlings towards the restoration program including CBOs such as Principle Styles Ceremonial seedlings based at Ainabkoi, and the Friends of Mau & Mara Conservation group. He noted that through the program, the Service had engaged local communities in site preparations and planting, through which they earn a livelihood. Kamau appreciated the goodwill from community members present, which has been instrumental in ensuring the survival of seedlings planted a year ago when the reclamation programme was launched.

Kamau also emphasized that it had taken extra resources to ensure protection and maintenance of planted areas achieved through partnership synergies between the Service and other entities, and called for more partnership towards the forest restoration process.

 

Furthermore, Kamau noted that illegal grazing remained a great challenge to the survival of seedlings on planted areas yielding to the Service innovating the grass cut and carry policy to protect planted areas and control weeding.

The CCF called on the Ministry's support by increasing the staff capacity of rangers who are already overstretched to sustain the demand for enforcement and protection in forest ecosystems.

 

A section of the 13,400 ha of forest land that was reclaimed in 2019 where the tree planting was taking place.

 

KFS Board Chairman Peter Kinyua and the Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau during the tree planting exercise. 

 

Members of the community transporting tree seedlings ready for planting during the celebrations.

 

 

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