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Deforestation threatening in News articles


» 28.02.2001 - Risk of increasing

Kenya deforestation in Kenya


» 24.01.2001 - World deforestation rate
slows down - outside Africa
» 10.12.2000 - Desertification and drought
Misanet.com / IRIN, 3 November - Environmental greatly affects Africans' health
organisations have warned that continued deforestation in » 12.11.2000 - Kenyan land reform shows
Kenya will lead to severe consequences for the environment, few positive results
affecting key production sectors if it proceeds at the current » 10.11.2000 - Kenyan wooden rhino in
rate. danger of extinction
» 03.11.2000 - Deforestation threatening in
Kenya
Population growth is the underlying cause behind » 20.10.2000 - Cameroon's largest protected
deforestation in Kenya, according to the Kenya Forestry area agreed
Research Institute (KEFRI). It is a global phenomenon: 15 » 25.09.2000 - Namibian Government
million hectares of forest are lost worldwide every year due announces overdue Forest Bill
» 19.09.2000 - World Bank fails in
to their clearing for agricultural reasons. In the 1980s, the implementing its own forest policy
Kenyan population grew at the rate of four percent a year, » 11.09.2000 - Mangroves of Western Africa
thereby putting pressure on rich forest lands favourable to threatened by global warming
crop cultivation. » 09.08.2000 - World deforestation seems to
be slowing down
» 23.07.2000 - G-8 adopts demand to fight
The widespread destruction of the Kenyan indigenous forest illegal logging
is due to "de-facto excisions", Christian Lambrechts, a » 20.07.2000 - Worldwide degradation of
member of the Kenya Forestry Working Group, told IRIN. mountain environments
This is as true of wooded areas in grasslands regions as it is » 13.07.2000 - Greenpeace action against
of indigenous forest reserves. criminal logging in Cameroon
» 11.07.2000 - Kenya: Food situation
deteriorating rapidly
This phenomenon is believed to increase during election » 08.07.2000 - Congo Basin environmental
periods, according to a report published by the World information management project founded
Resources Institute (WRI). The report considers land » 19.06.2000 - Cameroon: Report questions
excisions as "the result of an increased use of land for management of the timber industry
» 15.06.2000 - Gabon’s forests rapidly
political patronage in the context of increased electoral conceded
competition". The lack of adequate control over forest
reserves leads forestland to be Background articles
claimed by all parties. » Forests and deforestation in Africa

Two phenomena are to be distinguished however, the Pages


excision of forestlands for agricultural reasons, and the News - Africa
Kenya Archive
degradation of forests for commercial reasons. Large-scale Environment
logging exists in Kenya today more than ever before, despite Environmental News
a presidential ban issued in 1986. Camphor and cedar trees
in the indigenous forest surrounding Mount Kenya are In Internet
particularly affected. IRIN Kenya
WRI
WildNet Africa News
NewAfrica-Environment
WWF
It is excessively difficult to monitor the scale of deforestation in the country. The latest available
figures, published in 1994 by the Kenya Forestry Master Plan, mention 5,000 hectares of forest
excised on a yearly basis. Deforestation affects wooded areas in grasslands regions as well as close
canopy forests. However the consequences of its destruction on the environment are far greater in
the latter case.

In recent months, the destruction of forest has increased


due to the ongoing drought in the country. Forest
resources have been increasingly exploited as people
have turned to alternative means of income by
transforming wood into charcoal or selling it as timber.
In the Mount Kenya forest reserve, 2,465 charcoal kilns
were discovered by the Kenya Wildlife Service in an
aerial survey in August 1999. The consequences of the
depletion of Kenya's forest resources range from an
increased risk of drought to damage to the economy.
International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF):
Close canopy forests have a crucial role as water
Experimental plot growing trees with crops, Kenya. Photo by
CGIAR. catchments. If the forest is damaged, there will be
increasing risks of flood during the rainy season and of drought during the dry season. This is
particularly true as a consequence of deforestation in the mountainous regions of Mount Kenya, the
Aberdare range, the Mau escarpment, Mount Elgon and the Cherangani hills. Alone, these amount
to three-quarters of the total of indigenous forests in Kenya, and provide much of the nation's water,
highlighting the forests' role as water catchments. "It is very likely that [the current] shortages of
water and electricity in the city of Nairobi are related to the degradation of the forests of the Mount
Kenya and Aberdare range," Christian Lambrechts said.

The consequences may equally be felt on tea production in the region surrounding Mount Kenya
and the Mau escarpment. Forests serve to reduce the gap of temperatures between night and day.
The consequences are potentially huge for tea growers as temperatures at night risk falling below
zero Celsius.

The extensive destruction further manifests negative long-term impacts such as disrupting wildlife
habitat and destroying biodiversity. In turn these would lead to impaired tourism development.
While savannas are home to the more familiar wildlife species that attract tourists, forest
ecosystems provide the habitat for a large proportion of the country's biological diversity.

Tree planting has increased in farmland regions over the past years, a KEFRI spokesman told IRIN.
Individual farms have been planting wood for their own needs, while bigger farms have planted
wood for commercial purposes. However no study has yet been undertaken of the contribution
made by agroforestry in alleviating pressure on indigenous forest reserves, Christian Lambrechts of
the Kenya Forestry Working Group added.

The danger posed by the destruction of Kenya's indigenous forests is great. A substantial proportion
of the Kenyan population lives in the vicinity of forests, while these cover only two to three percent
of Kenyan soil. In a report published by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the head of the Civil
Service and former KWS director, Richard Leakey, warned that although Kenya is best known as a
land of arid or semi-arid habitats with little forest, it "cannot afford to watch the remaining natural
forests being destroyed. The forests are a national asset that must be protected".

Their importance in the regulation of climate, water catchments and biodiversity are
disproportionate in comparison to their percentage of the territory.

A spokesman for the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) said the solution lies in recognising
the environmental services rendered by ecosystems. He told IRIN there was a need "for a proper
conservation of the indigenous forest, better management of forest plantations, and a more
environmentally-friendly energy policy".

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2000


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