This coming amid realization that the nation’s forest reserves are facing numerous and growing challenges that jeopardize the ecological, economic, and social benefits that they provide.
A three-day field assessment visit to Kibwezi, Chyulu and Arabuko Sokoke forest reserves by KFS leadership, demonstrating the scale of need, and urgency.
According to the chairperson of the technical, planning, development, and Kenya Forest College Committee Joel Laigong, this challenge demands new partnerships especially in a bid to restore and enhance all the forest areas.
He disclosed that in a few instances where support has come in, the results have immense.
“Our visit reveals that well structured conservation partnerships are turning around threatened ecosystems, and transforming them into well conserved forests for the benefit of resource adjacent communities, flora, fauna and future generations.” He said
Laigong noted that increased partnerships will not only attract help to aid the forest service to address this and other pressing management challenges, but will play an important role in strengthening the agency’s long-term conservation initiatives.
The committee that also included the Chief Conservator of Forests Mr. Julius Kamau, conducted detailed aerial surveillance of the three forest reserves. They also received situation briefs from concession implementing entities in Kibwezi forest reserve.
The group also toured Umani Springs, a signature feature in the forest provide crucial water source for flora, fauna, and local communities.
While here, Laigong encouraged KFS front line staff and partners to share conservation gains and lessons to strengthen program implementation.
They later visited the proposed site for the construction of the new Kibwezi Forest Station office, the Kibwezi Honey Marketing Cooperative, and Thange tree nursery where KFS is working with Wendo Wa Mbulitini Women Group to raise tree seedlings.
Kibwezi Forest was Gazetted in 1936 and covers a total area of 5,849.6(HA). A total 4,000(HA) is solar fenced, erected by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in partnership with the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, resource adjacent communities among other partners.
The Forest shares a common boundary with Chyulu Hills National Park, one of its most important conservation areas.
Board committee members in the exercise also include the Board Vice Chairman Mr. Peter Wandera, Mr. Peter Leitoro, Ms. Ann Tek, and Dr. Jane Njuguna.
The team was also joined by the DCCF (Forest Conservation and Management) Madam Charity Munyasya, Ms. Beatrice Mbula (Head of Eastern Conservancy), and Mr. Maurice Wanyiri (Makueni Ecosystem Conservator), among other Senior KFS officers.