County Commissioner Urge Residents To Conserve Forests

Garissa County Commissioner Mohamed Mwabudzo has urged area residents to join the government efforts in conserving existing forests in the area.

Speaking during the commemoration of the International Day of Forests held at the Garissa High School, Mwabudzo said the current climatic changes would be properly tackled through tree planting of more trees to increase the forest cover. More than 500 trees were planted during the celebration.

‘The national government has a plan for us to plant trees to increase our forest cover but we keep coming up with excuses. Let us not blame lack of water for failure to achieve this vision,’ Mwabudzo said.

‘We have a few people clearing our forestry in the name of creating land for cultivation and extraction of lime. That is very discouraging and we need to stop the same so that we can allow trees to grow,’ he added.

The County Commissioner blamed land grabbers for the ongoing deforestation in Garissa.

He however lauded tree planting initiatives in several schools across
Garissa urging residents to borrow a leave from the learning institutions.

Garissa County Conservator Elphus Wesonga said the county has a forest cover of 11.6 percent with a tree cover at 12.6 percent.

Wesonga cited lack of water as the main challenge in raising the seedlings in Garissa due to harsh climatic conditions.

‘We are encountering resistance from the community when enforcing the law on charcoal. They will never allow their people to be arrested for illegal charcoal production,’ Wesonga said.

The Forestry Department is fighting charcoal burning and deforestation and Dadaab remains the most affected area in the county.

‘Wanton destruction of trees has been done in the Dadaab area and mostly by the refugees coming in from Somalia,’ he said.

The Conservator said the residents in Dadaab are using trees as firewood and charcoal burning.

He said the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is currently rehabilitating the most affected areas across the county.

Hassan Sheikh Ali, Chairman Hirola Conservancy said
forests remained vital in the ecosystem as they provide shade and food for both humans and animals.

‘Forests are important since we shall have food for our livestock and this will improve market value for the animals,’ he said.

Ali challenged locals to preserve the natural resources including national reserves and conservancies.

Source: Kenya News Agency