June 16, 2024

Environmentalists Want President to Clarify Order on Logging

Mtongani-Kidundu community group ferrying mangrove seedlings. (Photo By The COAST Cameraman)

By The COAST Reporter

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Kilifi County based environmental activists want President William Ruto to give details on which trees and regions the logging ban has been lifted.

Speaking in Kidundu village after planting more than 10,000 mangrove seedlings, Gro With Us Africa managing director Kelly Banda said the government move if not explained might accelerate deforestation and put conservation efforts at risk of going to waste.

A big percentage of state forest cover along the coastline comprise of mangrove trees which are hardwood and their percentage is shrinking, according to him.

“We want the President and his Environment, Climate Change and Forest cabinet secretary Soipan Tuya to come clear and tell us which types of trees and regions was the ban lifted because we fear this kind of declaration will negate all the milestones we had made during the ban. A big chank of forest cover along the coastline comprise of indeginous mangrove trees which their coverage had not yet reached the 10 percent forest cover as required by United Nations Environment Programme {UNEP}.”

He said the lifting of the ban was alright on the upper region where they depend on timber and forest products but not in all regional forests.

For the upper regions, he added was a wise move because soft wood trees mature faster and need to be harvested for economically gains of the government.

“Wood is very expensive right now because we are importing but at least will have our own from within so it’s going to be cheaper. For us at the coast region we are firmly opposed to this declaration,” he said.

Kilifi climate change governance platform {KCCGP} vice chair Elizabeth Wanjiku expressed concern that the government action would jeopardize the country’s forest cover.

“The government announcement may be a good idea, but how will it relate to the government’s ambition to plant 15 billion trees by 2032?” she posed warning mitigation effects might be dealt a blow due to climate change and restoration forest cover.

In her view, if the ban was to be lifted, it should have gone through various consultation processes and gradually adopted based on stakeholders’ contributions and not the blanket way it was done.

According to her the government decision will do more harm than good if not properly managed.

Mtongani-Kidundu community group chairperson Stephen Chivatsi said during the Covid-19 pandemic so many mangrove trees were destroyed and there was need for their restoration.

“What we are trying to do right now is to restore the destruction of mangrove that took place during the covid-19 pandemic. The gains that we have made so far have not yet reached 40 percent so when you allow people cut down trees it will retrogressively undermine the effort we’ve made.”

Since the partnership with the environmentalist stakeholders in the area, he said they had managed to plant more than one million mangrove seedlings.

On June 2, the President announced that there is need to opened up economies of areas that depend on timber and forest products.

The moratorium was placed in February 2018 during former President Uhuru Kenyatta regime to protect forest cover from illegal loggers

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