KFS recovers 500,000 acres of grabbed forest - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 6 November 2020

KFS recovers 500,000 acres of grabbed forest

 

The Kenya Forest Service on Thursday announced the recovery of more than 500,000 acres in the last year.

A large portion of the recovered land was in Boni Forest at the Coast and in Rift Valley.

This came as KFS said violent evictions were now a thing of the past with communities leaving forest land voluntary due to public engagement.

KFS has entered into a joint venture with Kenya National Commission on Human Rights to train its staff on humane eviction under a programme sponsored by UNDP.

Chief conservator of Forests Julius Kamau said the government had not lost any forest land since 2005, with the current recoveries dating back 30 years 

Kamau said they had recovered 500,000 acres in Boni Forest, 30,000 acres in Samburu and another 13,000 acres in Maasai Mau where replanting of trees had started. 

“In all cases, the public agreed to voluntarily move out and we are keen to reclaim other grabbed forest land,” he said on Thursday in Naivasha.

Under the joint programme with KNCHR, the chief conservator said they had incorporated human rights in the forest operations and conservation.

Kamau said in reclaiming more than 600,000 acres, there was no infringement on human rights and no violence had been used, though their officers had been injured.

“We have in the past differed with Kenya National Commission on Human Rights but we are now working as one team as we conserve our forests and engage the community,” he said.

Kamau said through the help of UNDP, they had formed a training manual which would be used to train their staff so that any forest activity would be carried out in a humane manner.

Head of public affairs at KNCHR Dominic Kabiru said, "Before, we had issues on how evictions were carried out but we are now involving the community to make sure forests are conserved and human rights are observed."

Undersecretary in the Environment ministry Cornel Sangura praised KFS for recovering grabbed forest land.

“We have made tours across the country and we have seen communities voluntary moving out of Mt Elgon, the Aberdares and Mau forests and this is commendable,” he said.

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