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Kenya eyes millions of shillings from carbon trade

08 February 2013, 13:22 Ngarae Elias

Kenya is eyeing millions of shillings from carbon trade derived from its government forests.

The Japanese Government has given the country KES 300 million to carry out a wall-to-wall forest mapping to enable public forests qualify for carbon trading.

The exercise is expected to capture the recovery of the hitherto degraded forests over ten-year intervals by use of satellite maps.

A senior deputy director of Kenya Forest Service Emilio Mugo said the exercise was a requirement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and would create baseline for the country to start earning carbon credits.

Although the mapping exercise mapping has started with the Mau complex, it will soon be rolled out to other parts of the country, according to Mugo.

It involves looking at the degradation and recovery levels from 1990 - 2000 and from 2000 - 2010.

“A ten-year interval is enough for the degraded vegetation to recover. We are finalizing the map on Mau Complex and we hope to be through with the exercise by December,” Mugo told a regional conference of foresters at Green Hills Hotel in Nyeri.

The director said the KFS has been able to recover 19 000 hectares of forest land in south western Mau which was in the hands of few individuals.

He said this was achieved through the support of the local community.

“Some of the individuals occupying the forest land surrendered their title deeds voluntarily even before it was degazetted. This achievement was a result of collaboration with the local community,” Mugo remarked.

He said community forest associations could also play a big role in preventing resettlements in other water towers like Cherangany and Mt Elgon.

The director praised community forest associations saying they were instrumental in securing forests.

He pointed out that communities were helping his organization in rehabilitating an average of 100 000 hectares of degraded forest annually.

Participatory forest management was meant for poor Kenyans who do not have a livelihood activity but regrettably, it has been infiltrated by business people and employed people, the director said.

However, he  said that among the challenges the conservation body was facing was the human rights approach which he said could be a threat to conservation.

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