Written by John Kabaka
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Assistant director of forest in-charge of Kakamega Kenya Forest Zone Mr. Mwai Muraguri with other KFS officers. [Photo | John Kabaka]
The government intends to harvest about 150 hectares of mature cypress trees in Kakamega forest worth Kshs. 200 million through open tenders for both small and large-scale timber dealers.
An assistant director of forest in-charge of Kakamega Kenya Forest Zone Mr. Mwai Muraguri said the exercise will be done through gradual tendering to avoid serious effect to the environment in the area.
In an interview with reporters Mr. Muraguri said the trees to be harvested are about 30 years old planted soon after independence.
He said the trees to be harvested are in Kakamega and Malava forests where environmental impact assessment audit which involved local people has been done as required by the National Environmental Authority (NEMA).
According to Mr. Muraguri, the government has decided to harvest the trees because the value of their timber deteriorate through decay or attack by insects.
Currently, cypress wood is on high demand in the country because of the scarcity of the trees.
He said in order to maintain the balance between harvesting and planting, his department has planted 100 hectares of cypress seedlings to avoid serious impact to the environment.
The last time, KFS harvested trees in Kakamega forest was three years ago to give way to construction of power line and water pipes from Nandi County to Kakamega town, Mr. Muraguri said.
Kakamega forest is the only remaining equatorial rain forest in the country which has been facing imminent due to encroachment by human activities.
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