Nairobi (Kenya) July 3 (Xinhua) — Kenyan President William Ruto has lifted a six-year logging moratorium amid concerns from environmentalists.
The president said on Sunday it would be “foolish” to let mature trees rot in forests when local industries lack timber.
“That’s why we decided to open up the forest and harvest the wood so that we can create jobs for young people,” he said.
Ruto became Kenya’s president in September. In 2018, while serving as vice president, he announced a government ban on logging to protect water catchment areas and avert a looming drought.
His government’s first budget imposed a tax on all imported timber products, a move aimed at encouraging local manufacturing.
Last year he launched a plan to plant 15 billion trees in Kenya over 10 years as a way to fight climate change.
Speaking at the Global Citizenship Festival in Paris last month, Ruto said his country was leading the way in action to prevent global warming.
John Keoli, executive director of the Green Africa Foundation, told the AP that lifting the logging ban would undermine all efforts to put Kenya on a low-carbon trajectory through forest restoration.
While stakeholders have yet to receive full details of the government’s approach to deciding which trees can be harvested, Keoli said lifting the ban across the country would make it difficult to monitor the environmental impact of the move.
“I hope we can do it in stages,” he said.
Keoli said he was also not optimistic that the president’s tree-planting goal would be achieved.
“On the one hand we are planting and on the other hand we are logging and I can assure you there will be more logging,” he said. (Associated Press)
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