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Sh48b needed to raise forest cover to 10 per cent

By Anyango Otieno and Jeckoniah Otieno | November 19th 2020
A worker waters the paths at Karura forest in Nairobi. October 20th,2020 [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

At least Sh48b is needed to implement a strategy meant to raise the forest cover to 10 per cent from the current seven by the year 2022.

Acting Conservation Secretary Alfred Gichu said to achieve this strategy, the demand gap for wood must first be bridged.

The demand for wood currently stands at 45 million cubic metres while the supply is 30 million cubic metres.

“The 15 million cubic metre gap must be met to achieve the 10 per cent forest cover,” Gichu said. "To bridge the gap, we must put in place interventions such as additional tree planting across all available landscapes."

Counties that have achieved more than 20 per cent forest cover include Nyeri with 38 per cent; the highest so far, Elgeyo Marakwet (37.5), Lamu is at 34 per cent while Kericho has 24 per cent.

Counties with low forest cover include Migori with 0.64 per cent, Kisumu (0.44), and Siaya at 0.42 per cent.

“In the event that the proposed interventions are not implemented, the consequences will manifest in the form of reduced supply of important products, droughts, and loss in ecological services,” said Gichu.

Proposed interventions include planting and protecting two billion tree seedlings in the next two years.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said the strategy has been hard to implement as Treasury has not been able to offer the required support.

“However, with the little we have been given, we are partnering with the private sector,” said Kiptoo.

United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Walid Badawi said yesterday Kenya loses around 12,000 hectares of forests every year. This number is about 4.7 million hectares globally.

He added that countries around the world need to take drastic measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

“It is for this reason that the UN Secretary-General has called for a climate ambitions summit to be held on December 12, 2020, virtually,” added Badawi.

“The country’s recovery from Covid-19 is directly linked to issues of environmental conservation. The path to recovery has to be green and it has to see investments in the 10 per cent tree cover strategy among others,” Badawi said. 

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