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Govt to fence all gazetted forests, CS Tuya says

Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya has announced the government’s plans to fence all gazetted forests across the country.

According to CS Tuya, the move is aimed at safeguarding the forests from possible encroachment and destructive human activities.

“The first thing we’ve done as a Ministry is to map all forests across Kenya. We’re looking for partners to back up government funding for fencing of all forests across the country,” she said.

She said the fencing would also help sustain the gains made through ecosystem restoration efforts such as the 15 billion national tree growing programme.

She further called on communities to participate more actively in conservation activities.

“I know we won’t succeed without collaboration and good relations with communities. We must collaborate. You are our eyes. You’re the owners of the environment,” she said.

Tuya added that the government has launched a crackdown on logging and illegal forest activities challenging the Kenya Forest service to enhance security.

“People who imagine that our forests are available for encroachment should forget it. We have started an operation, starting in Mau, a place called Sururu and we will go to all forests. We can’t employ more rangers and then have more illegalities. The reason we are employing more rangers is to enhance enforcement. We have to phase out all illegal forest activities,” she said.

CS Tuya also spoke about propagation of adequate seedlings to support the 15 billion national tree growing programme saying her Ministry was working with Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) to produce enough seeds to support the initiative.

Alongside production of adequate tree seeds, CS Tuya said KEFRI had been tasked to undertake ecological species matching to ensure that Kenyans grow trees best suited for their ecological zones.

“We’re working with KEFRI, which is a scientific institution in my Ministry, to undertake species matching so that, if it is Marsabit, we know the right species for this area,” the CS said, adding that 30 percent of all seeds produced will be fruit and nut species to support agroforestry.

To accelerate the tree growing initiative, CS Tuya said her Ministry through KFS was in the process of recruiting youth to participate in the 15 billion national tree initiative through a programme dubbed ‘green army’.

“Green army are youth who will assist the Government in propagation of seedlings and growing of trees,” CS Tuya said as she promised transparency in the ongoing national recruitment exercise saying priority will be given to locals.

On wetlands conservation, the CS said the Government was keen on mapping and fencing wetlands across the country so as to use their water for all-year tree growing activities.

The Cabinet Secretary spoke on Wednesday in Marsabit during a meeting with community forest association on the first day of her two-day working visit of the County at the Marsabit Kenya Forest Service (KFS) office.

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