By Duncan Mboyah

Julius Kamau, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) revealed a roadmap towards increasing the national tree cover in the country to 30 percent by 2050.

Speaking to journalists in Nairobi, the conservator said that after attaining 12.13 percent during the period 2018/2021 they are now determined to ensure that the country has 30 percent tree cover.

“We are currently developing a forest landscape strategy on our areas of attention which includes the arid and semi­-arid lands,” said Kamau.

He added that there are plans to include individuals, philanthropists and the private sector to upscale tree growing by adopting forests.

The official also revealed that Kenya Forest Service (KFS) personnel will be helping all the 47 counties in developing a tree planting strategy. Kenyans across the country are urged to grow trees of their own choice and can thrive in their environment so they can also benefit economically.

The new approach is borrowing from the National Forest Resources Assessment Report 2021 that has revealed remarkable achievement in tree and forest cover in the country.

The report shows that Kenya’s tree cover now stands at 12.13 percent, whereas forest cover also now stands at 8.83 percent.

The report is now instrumental in developing strategies and action plans to spearhead forest protection, conservation and management in the country.

Kamau notes that with the increment of tree and forest cover, there is a need that a total valuation of all forest resources be included in the national budget to inform funding and national official statistics.

He adds that the new approach to achieving 30 percent by 2050 will include fencing of Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon, Mau forest complex and Cherangany hills to enhance ecological integrity and sustainable provision of ecosystem goods and services.

According to the report that was launched in late May 2022, central Kenya, parts of western Kenya and the coastal region are the most forested parts of the country.

It indicates that up-to 37 counties out of the 47 have a tree cover percentage great­er than the constitutional set target of 10 percent tree cover.

The assessment that was done from June last year has indicated that Kenya has 7,180,000.66 hectares of tree cover representing 12.13 percent of the total area and that the country also has 5,226,191.79 hectares of the national forest cover that repre­sents 8.83 percent of the total area.

Kenya has attained the new constitutional tree cover requirement following a Presidential directive in March 2018 that targeted at achieving a minimum of 10 percent tree cover by 2022 as part of the national efforts to address the challenge of climate change.

The decreasing forest cover is aggravated by an abated environmental destruction of trees for charcoal burning, illegal logging and people invading the forests for cultivation and settlement.