BY JULIS KAMAU
KFS is now a stronger brand, well connected and anchored in the public ecosystem, thanks to our improved governance and effective communication in all that we did.
This has greatly improved its image, public trust and built a strong army of communities, partners and stakeholders willing to and demonstrating their commitment to complementing our efforts.
Human resource is critical for any institution to effectively deliver its mandate, at my time of ingress, KFS was at 48% staff capacity, I am proud that this now stands at 77% and this will grow to 88% on full implementation of the Presidential directive on recruitment of 3,300 additional staff.
The development and approval of the Human Resources Instruments in the year 2020, have aided not only this staff recruitment but staff replacement and promotions across all the cadre over the last 4 years; this is a watershed achievement that we must all be proud of.
The Service has continued to enhance its technological capabilities, innovations and systems integrations to complement her human capabilities.
Among these are, the Artificial Intelligence based forest change detection alert system commonly known as Forest Alert, Forest Fire Risk Monitoring system, Forest Information Management System, E-registration and forest surveillance through unmanned aerial vehicles- the Drones.
During the 4 years stretch, not less than 55,000ha of encroached forest land have been reclaimed in a human right based approach and through the Adopt-a-Forest initiative we coined in 2019, these reclaimed and other degraded forest areas are under restoration with the support from KFS .
Our state and non-state partners.
Approximately 28,000ha of previously un-stocked forest plantation areas have been re-stocked with the support of the Forest Adjacent Communities through the Plantation Establishment Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS) through Tree 1st Policy and in compliance to Forest (Sustainable Forest Management) rules 2009.
Protection of the forest resources has been enhanced through strengthening of the social fences, i.e. effective partnership between the Service and the Community Forest Associations for mutual benefits; and physical electric fencing of our critical forest ecosystems among them, Aberdare, the ongoing in Mt. Kenya, Mau and Kakamega forest which currently stands at approximately total of 700kms conservation electric fence line.
With ever evolving and emerging forest threats, the Service as one of the national security agencies has embraced the Multi-Agency Security arrangement, has benefited from this arrangement in dealing with her special forest operations and its role have equally been recognized of relevance by other security agencies.
The Service now has a Service Flag, this is our ultimate pride and the anchor to our image, allow me then to say I leave a more dignified Service and Office.
Finally, all these efforts were geared towards increasing the forest and tree cover of our country.
As they say what cannot be measured cannot be managed, nor can it be improved.
I am happy to note that this Key Performance Indicator was not only met but surpassed.
The National Forest Resource Assessment Report 2021, revealed that the forest cover increased from 5.9% in 2018 to 8.83% in 2021 while the national tree cover stands at 12.13% above the constitutional target of 10%.
The tree cover assessment being the 1st in the Kenyan history served as a baseline in the formulation of the new national target of attaining 30% tree cover by 2032.
Acknowledging the new target, and this being my last- this is a journey, it’s like a relay, passing a button from one to the other – it suffices for me to say that the work ahead is well cut out, and I wish to take this very opportunity to wish you – the KFS leadership and the entire staff complement the very best as you take KFS even to greater heights.
As I said before, these successes cannot be attributed to any single individual not even myself, I was just but the captain, but every staff of the Service made a critical and significant contribution and thus this purely a collaborative effort and a shared legacy.
Let us always remember, our mandate to protect, conserve and manage our National Heritage – the forests, is service to humanity and nature and that, Service to humanity is service to God!