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Road contractors have been directed to inform the Kenya Forest Service before cutting trees in projects they are undertaking near forests.

KFS chief conservator Monica Kalenda on Tuesday said if trees must be cut for road construction or expansion, the contractor must help take them to the nearest forest station – not use or sell them.

“They will help transport them to our nearest station for safe custody. No one will be allowed to carry them, or use them on any kind of job,” she added. Kalenda was speaking at Uplands Forests during an inspection by a planning technical committee.

She was accompanied by the committee chairman Joel Laigong.

Laigong said they inspected quarries at Ngubi block of Uplands Forest, where a contractor had applied for excavation of murram and stones.

They also visited a hotel that has been under construction for more than 10 years in Ngubi block. It is on 62 acres belonging to former Ndeiya councillor Ndung’u Njenga, he said.

Kalenda said the KFS board of management had reduced the size of land an individual and companies wish to invest in the forest to 20 acres.

Since the logging moratoriums was issued last year in February by Environment CS Keriako Tobiko, the country has been planting trees. Kalenda said they are growing well.

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She said Kenya’s forest cover is seven per cent. The goal is 15 per cent by 2022. To achieve thfg goal, it needs to plant at least 360 million seedlings annually.

She said China Guasu had identified Uplands Forest as a place where the forest will be affected by construction of the the Uplands-Githunguri Road.

In February last year the government imposed a ban on logging and extraction of timber in all public and community forests. The ban was then extended to November, when it was extended until November this year.

Tobiko said the extension would help restore and rehabilitate critical water catchment and natural forest areas estimated at 123,553 acres.

He has proposed an Sh18 billion budget to handle problems of deforestation over five years.

The CS attributed water shortage ito deforestation, encroachment and degradation of water catchment areas and riparian land.

Last year on February 26, the ministry appointed a task force headed by the Green Belt Movement chairperson Marion Wakanyi to investigate forest resource management and logging actives at the Kenya Forest Service.

The task force found rampant corruption at KFS, collusion with millers and loggers and said many forests exist only one paper.

It recommended strict enforcement of the ban on charcoal, eviction of illegal of settlers, an audit lifestyle of KFS staff, and making it mandatory for county and national governments to plant trees.

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