KFS decries proposed changes to law on forest management

The Kenya Forest Service board Chairman Peter Kinyua is once again calling on Parliament to reject attempts to undermine the authority of the service in the protection of forests.

Kinyua says the proposal to scrap article 34(2) of the Forest Conservation and Management Act (2016) is an affront to environmental conservation.

This is because, according to the KFS Chairman, the section under review by lawmakers has so far enabled KFS to protect the existing public forests.

“The Forest Act of 2016, was carefully drafted to respond to wanton destruction of forests experienced in Kenya in the 1990s and the 2000s, largely due to excisions of public forests,” he said in a statement

Kinyua is concerned that the Bill published in Parliament seeking to give MPs greater say in the management of public forests, will create a loophole that will expose  the country’s gazetted forests to human activity.

He said the bill by the Procedure & House Rules Committee is a step in the wrong direction given the ongoing efforts to expand Kenya’s forest cover.

“The current law requires KFS to make technical recommendations to parliament on the effects of any proposed forest boundary variation or excision on endangered, rare and threatened species and ecological sensitive areas,” he said

Kinyua has told the MPs that any alternations to the section in review will reverse the gains made over the years in restoring public forests and water catchment areas.

Kenya has partnered with Belgium to fast track its ongoing campaign against climate change. On Thursday, Belgium Ambassador to Kenya Peter Maddens commended Kenya’s environmental conservation programs, even as he called for deeper engagement on how to safeguard the gains made.

  

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