The Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG) is sounding the alarm over the high rate of destruction at the Eburu Forest reserve. The reserve, besides harbouring different types of tree species, is home to a variety of wild animals, including the Bongo antelope, the white and black Colobus Monkey, the Buffalo among many others. It is also a source of rivers and streams that drain into Lakes Elementaita, Naivasha and Nakuru, all a haven to the Lesser Flamingo.
Complete forest damage was what greeted KFWG officials who accompanied Kenya Forest Service and local forest association officials for a fact-finding mission to the reserve. There was illegal logging, settlement, charcoal burning, uncontrolled grazing and use of fire to fell down the cedar species of trees. The extent of it was even made real when a logger was arrested on that very day!
Such brazen damage to the reserve is attributed to the perception by the local people that the forest is government owned and as such feel they do not own it. The poverty levels have also led to them felling logs for timber which they sell to a nearby market centre. An offence such as this carries a light sentence of a maximum of three months and hence continues with impunity.
KFWG is strategising on ways in which the forest can best be managed by empowering the community to understand the ramifications of such destruction and how to conserve it for their own benefit and by extension the country.