The Bomet County government is now laying claim to two forest blocks in the Mau Forest complex.
Governor Hillary Barchok wants the Kenya Forests Service (KFS) to place the management of Nyangores and Nairotia blocks, currently under the Narok ecosystem, in Bomet County where they are physically located.
“As a matter of priority, KFS should initiate a process and dialogue between the various stakeholders with a view to correcting the anomaly where we have a resource in one county being managed under another county,” said Dr Barchok.
NAROK LAW COURTS
“It is instructive to note that even when our security enforcement officers in conjunction with foresters nab suspects illegally harvesting forest produce including logging and charcoal burning, they are taken to law courts in the neighbouring Narok County,” he added.
The governor was speaking at Mara Mara in Konoin when the Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau led KFS in signing a participatory forest management plan with the local community which aims at enhancing conservation of the Mau Forest complex in Bomet County.
“There is need for the community to embrace conservation of the natural resources in the country and the national and county governments should embrace a multi-sectorial approach to attaining the set goals,” said Dr Barchok.
He said Bomet County has in the last one year planted one million tree seedlings in a programme aimed at attaining a five million mark in the next three years as it seeks to increase forest cover from the current 12 percent to 15 percent in the region.
“My administration has rolled out a programme to rehabilitate degraded ecosystems with locals encouraged to plant nitrogen fixing trees, timbre, woodlots and fruit trees,” said Dr Barchok.
He said community participation in conservation is key in seeking to turn around the negative effects brought about by years of depletion of the forest through unchecked human activities, cultivation along river banks and pollution of water sources.
“Families living along river banks and forests have been encouraged to engage in bee keeping for economic gain in what would largely contribute to improved nutrition,” said Dr Barchok.
On his part, Dr Kamau said it is possible for the two forest blocks to be re-aligned to fall under the Bomet ecosystem so as to ensure the Mau Forest complex is conserved for the benefit of the current and future generations.
“Realigning the management of the two forest blocks is feasible. With mutual trust and goodwill from all the stakeholders involved, we will be able to tackle the challenge,” said Dr Kamau.
He said KFS will continuously engage communities, counties and stakeholders to conserve the environment and seek to increase forest cover across the country.
The government plans to evict 60,000 families from Maasai Mau any time now in phase two of the exercise. Phase one affected 9,000 families.