KFS sets up new device to assess forests

By FREDRICK OBURA

NAIROBI, KENYA, Nov. 22 - The Kenya Forest Services (KFS) has launched new national forest cover mapping system for accurate reporting on the status of forests.

Currently, KFS is relying on outdated methods in mapping the forests, which do not give accurate information such as land use and cases of deforestation. This has led to poor formulation of policies on forests.

The new system uses remote sensing technology mapping out various activities in the forest. As a package, it comes with a website where the information collected can easily be accessed online by the public and International community.

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“For a long time, Kenya’s forest cover has been based on estimates with a one per cent cover cited as the national forest cover. This figure has been revised upwards to about six per cent which also is not confirmed,” said Lawrence Mwadime, acting PS Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.

“We lack scientifically proven data on our forest and tree cover. And that explains why we appear not confident with the data that we use,” he said.

 “The completion of the mapping exercise will enable us make policies based on sound decisions for sustainable management and conservation of forest resources.”

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Through the system, Kenya will also be in a position to benefit from the incentives provided in the climate change mitigation through the Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+).

Speaking during the launch at the KFS headquaters in Nairobi, KFS Director David Mbugua said the new mapping system is critical to the Mau forest complex, which has in the past been hardest, hit by illegal settlements.

SEE ALSO :MP arrested, houses torched and settlers told to leave forest

The establishment of the Remote sensing laboratory is also a great milestone that will also provide for stakeholder data sharing internet enabled facilities to support international reporting on forest status.

He thanked the Government of Japan for the grant aid provided under the Forest Preservation Programme for the new system. “This has enabled (for the first time) the laying of a firm foundation in the establishment of the national forest cover status through a detailed mapping process using a combination of remote sensing and ground based technologies.”

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Kenya Forest Services KFS