Firstly my compliments on an excellent 4th edition in 2016 (October-December) with the articles on Kitili Mbathi and the NEMA regulations. Every article is noteworthy in itself.
My correspondence to you focusses on a visit made by myself and 25 members of the Mt. Kenya branch of the Kenya Horticultural Society (KHS) to the Kakamega Forest in January this year. We stayed four days at the Rondo Retreat Centre, an excellent facility from which to explore the southern portion of this forest, which we did with guides to take note of the flora and fauna of this unique forest.
Firstly we were very concerned at the lack of proper controls regarding access into the forest, the constant removal of timber, the burning of wood to make charcoal along the banks of the Yala river and the degradation of the perimeter.
Add to these concerns the volume of traffic coursing down the road between Kakamega and Chepsonoi with the resulting heavy dust pollution, and discussion of plans to tarmac this dust road to facilitate more heavy traffic directly through this highly sensitive forest, puts this forest at the highest risk of being further damaged.
The simple fact that four timber yards have opened up only 2 kilometres from the centre of this forest and 100 metres from a KFS [Kenya Forest Service] check point, reinforces the impression that the management of this southern section of the forest is obviously sadly absent.
Despite being told that permits are required to enter this forest, not one single KFS officer was seen during these 4 days and no checks were apparently being carried out on the passage of vehicles through this wonderful gem of nature.
My appeal is to your excellent body of members and professionals who make it their passion to protect such threatened assets to please advise us of the official situation regarding this forest and the initiatives in place to secure this highly-threatened bio-reserve. We look forward to perhaps an article on this subject in the next edition.
Alan M. Paul
Eco Fuels Kenya Ltd
Box 1664 – 10400 Nanyuki