Impounded truck ferrying logs illegally felled from Kapchemutwo forest in Keiyo North. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard] 

The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has embraced technology to detect illegal logging and fire incidents that cause deforestation.

Kilifi KFS conservator Elvis Fondo said they are using satellite images to monitor forests.

Speaking at Msumarini Primary School in Kilifi South Sub County, Fondo disclosed that the satellite tracking issues alert on logging or other illegal activities in forests.

“The system issues real-time alerts and makes it easier for us to get to the place and find out the problem and take action,” he said.

He was optimistic that the satellite system will enable them to respond swiftly to illegal activities in forests.

Fondo revealed that they engage conservationists to adopt a forest and monitor the progress of trees.

Kilifi county currently has a forest cover of 27.76 per cent and KFS targets to increase this 30 per cent.

Fondo said currently they are working with partners including county governments, and corporates such as Pwani Oil Products Limited and schools to increase the forest cover.

He noted that the county is left with three per cent to hit the 30 per cent forest cover but they aim to increase by 15 per cent.

“In our county, we have government forests, private forests, community forests such as Kaya forest as per the government's 10 years vision. We are supposed, as a county to contribute to the 15 billion trees,” he said.

Fondo noted that they planted 3,000 trees at the school and were taking advantage of the rains to ensure locals plant at least 30 trees each annually.

He revealed that they have two Community Forest Associations that help in forest recovery in the terrestrial forests and mangrove areas.

In the mangrove area, Fondo noted that they planted trees on 509 hectares while in the terrestrial forests, they intend to plant more than 10 million trees.

He said the use of technology has helped to arrest illegal loggers, a move that has reduced destruction of forests.

“In Kilifi, we have not had a major fire incident recorded, just recently we had a an incident in Gede forest station where two hectares were burnt and the community came in swiftly and managed to help us put out the fire,” he said.

During tree planting, Pwani Oil Products Limited partnered with the county government to provide 1,000 tree seedlings.

“Since 2019 we have so far in conjunction with Kilifi county and KFS planted 175,000 seedlings. These include 120,000 mangrove seedlings and the rest are terrestrial trees,” said Director of Operations Riten Malde.

Kilifi County Director of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change Kanundu Ngumbao said they target to plant 1.4 million trees every year in schools, churches, mosques, and in the community.

He revealed that the county gives the tree seedlings free of charge to residents in bid to achieve the target to plant 1.4 million trees annually and the target of 15 billion trees set by the government.

“We have our tree nursery at Tezo which has capacity to produce five million tree seedlings, so far, we have 500,000 seedlings which we plan to plant during this rainy season,” he said.

Said Mwakatengo, chairman of youth in Kilifi South said they are partnering with Pwani Oil to conserve the environment and schools to nurture the trees to maturity.

Kilifi South Acting Deputy County Commissioner Minika Hamisi said they target to plant 10,000 trees during the rainy season.

By AFP 2 hrs ago
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