Despite the objections of environmental activists, Kenyan President William Ruto announced the lifting of a nearly six-year ban on logging on Sunday.
The action, according to Ruto, was “long overdue” and was intended to boost the economy by opening up businesses that depend on forest products and create jobs.
“We cannot allow old trees to rot in woods while the surrounding community suffers from a shortage of timber. At a church service in Molo, a hamlet located around 200 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi, he declared, “That’s nonsense.
So that we can give our youth work and start businesses, we have chosen to open the forest and collect timber.
Ruto, who is leading African efforts to tackle climate change, declared that the government would move through with its plans to plant 15 billion trees over the next ten years.
The ban’s lifting will undoubtedly please the sawmillers and lumber merchants who complained that it had resulted in significant job losses.
In order to stop widespread illicit logging and raise the country’s forest cover to 10%, the previous administration issued the ban in public and community forests in February 2018.
However, the decision would have “catastrophic environmental consequences,” according to Greenpeace Africa.
In a petition last month, it claimed that “millions of local people depend on these forests for their livelihoods, relying on them to supply food and medicine.” “In Kenya, forests are home to rare and endangered species, and they are also vital for millions of people’s access to food and medicine,” it added.
“Significant progress has been made in protecting forests and addressing the climate crisis since the Kenyan government imposed the ban on logging six years ago,” it claimed.
Lifting the moratorium will undermine all of our hard work because it will encourage profit-driven commercial and illegal logging. Sawmillers who don’t care about the consequences will have control over our forests.
According to government data, forestry and logging contributed 1.6 percent to Kenya’s economy in 2017. These same numbers stated that the overall forest cover would reach 8.8 percent in 2022.