The state is obligated to work to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least 10% of the land area of Kenya, Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Environment and Natural Resources Professor Judi Wakhungu has said. The forest cover is currently at 7.4% up from 6.99% in 2010. The CS said this during the 10th anniversary of Kenya Forest Service (KFS), held at Karura, on 10th February 2017.
Prof. Wakhungu said the government was committed to the restoration of 5.1 million hectares of degraded forest lands as part of the nationally determined contribution to the Bonn challenge under the 2015 Paris agreement.
“To achieve this target KFS had comprehensively mapped out all degraded sites for the Bonn challenge, making the country the first one in Africa to conduct such a massive exercise” Wakhungu added.
She acknowledged that as the Country aspires to be an industrialized and middle level income country by 2030, environmental conservation and management will continue to be integrated in the overall economic development framework as a precondition for ensuring the right of every Kenyan to a clean environment is achieved and sustained.
She also pointed out that Kenya is recognized as an agricultural based country whose products such as tea is based on suitable micro-climatic conditions that are regulated by the forests and the fuel wood utilized to cure the green leaves resulting in an internationally recognized high quality brand.
The ceremony was also attended by the Swedish Ambassador to Kenya Her Excellency Tarji Fernandez, past and present chairs of the KFS board, the Directors of KFS and Kenya Forestry Research Institute Mr. Emilio Mugo and Dr. Ben Chikamai respectively among other guests.