The Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau on Wednesday led Kenya Forest Service in launching the Chepalungu forest station Participatory Forest Management Plan (PFMP).
During the event, Chepalungu’s Forest Station Management Agreement (FMA) between the Service and the Chepalungu Apex Community Forest Association was also signed.
Chepalungu forest station comprises of two forest blocks (Kapchumbe and Siongiroi) that form part of the Bomet County’s forest stations which also include Mara Mara, Itare and Ndoinet.
While signing the FMA which will now operationalize the PFMP, the CCF said the centrality of forest adjacent communities in the conservation and protection of forest ecosystems across the country is the first social line of defence against forest illegalities.
He noted that KFS is working closely with the communities and has already developed 165 PFMPs and signed 112 FMAs countrywide to enhance collaborative conservation involving county governments, conservation stakeholders and members of the public through CFAs.
Kamau added that Bomet County which currently has a 15% forest cover is working towards attaining 22% and is among the first counties to have signed the Transitional Implementation Plans (TIPS.
These provide an avenue through which KFS collaborates with the county on forestry development.
Additionally, Kamau noted that Mara Mara forest station has already signed its FMA and operationalized its PFMP and has also recently revised the same for Itare forest, with Ndoinet awaiting to launch and sign the PFMP & FMA, respectively.
Kamau appreciated the partnership between the Service, USA Forest Service, Bomet County Government, ISLA, WWF, Bomet University, and Kass FM in the restoration of Chepalungu forest.
He said the Service has already developed infrastructure to support the conservation of the forest by constructing a ranger’s camp and deploying a forest station manager at the station which did not have one for the past 13 years.
He also appreciated Bomet County’s support in the ongoing construction of a forest station office for Chepalungu where he visited for progress inspection.
The CCF also visited a section of the Siongiroi forest block where he appreciated the PELIS model which has promoted the restoration of the area while benefitting the food security of the community.
He said the development process of Chepalungu’s PFMP highlights the best long-term management tool for the forest as the construction of a fence.
“KFS is working with stakeholders to support livelihood projects that enhance the social economic status of forest adjacent communities, which also help strengthen conservation by reducing over-reliance on forest resources, “he said.
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