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Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya has reiterated that the lifting of a logging moratorium announced recently by the Government only applies to commercial plantations and not indigenous forests.

Tuya said the lifting of the ban imposed by the Government in 2018 following a spike in illegal logging was meant to allow for the harvesting of mature plantations including those owned by the Government.

When you hear about the lifting of the ban on logging, it only applies to the commercial plantations which have not been touched since 2018 due to the moratorium,” CS Tuya

The CS spoke on Thursday in North Horr town, Marsabit County where she commissioned Tiniqo and Horri Gudha wetlands, restored by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) as part of the 15 billion national tree growing and ecosystem restoration programme.

CS Tuya revealed that Kenya had a total of 150,000 hectares of commercial forests across the country, adding that a maximum of 5,000 hectares will be harvested annually to allow for replanting and regeneration of logged acreage.

“The 150,000 hectares are in parts of our gazetted forests, only there will we allow for harvesting of commercial, exotic trees but not in indigenous forests,” the CS said.

She said the lifting of the ban would allow private forest owners who had been restricted by the 2018 moratorium to harvest their mature trees.

The logging ban also came with restrictions upon private forests where farmers who have forests within their farms could not log. With the lifting of the ban, they will be allowed to log in a regulated manner,” the CS said.

To address illegal logging that led to the 2018 ban, CS Tuya said her Ministry was strengthening Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to effectively undertake its enforcement mandate by among other interventions, the recent recruitment of additional rangers.

Additionally, the Cabinet Secretary, who was accompanied by Marsabit County MP Naomi Waqo, said she had ordered KFS to mount a ruthless countrywide  crackdown on illegal logging starting in Mau forest complex.

CS Tuya also spoke about the ongoing recruitment of youth to support the 15 billion national tree growing programme dubbed ‘green army’ saying the Government will recruit 4,000 youth in the first cohort.

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