In Kenya, President William Ruto announced on Sunday, July 2nd the lifting of the ban on logging. It was imposed in 2018 in public and community forests to eradicate the illegal cutting of trees and increase the country’s forest cover. President Ruto reconsidered this decision, saying that this lifting was expected “for a long time”.
“We cannot have mature trees rotting in the forests while the inhabitants suffer from the lack of wood. This is madness”, President William Ruto said. The government has also planned new taxes on imports of wood and its by-products to favor local industry.
The sector decried the ban on logging, and those who worked in felling, transport, or even the sawmill in the regions that depend on it have suffered the consequences. According to the Kenya Forest Research Institute (Kefri), the moratorium caused 44,000 jobs to disappear.
A Strongly Contested Decision
lifting greatly worries environmental activists who accuse President Ruto of putting profits before the protection of nature. Environmentalist Paula Kahumbu said she was “shocked” on Twitter. She called for preserving native forests.
Threatened by illegal logging, these native forests are essential for purifying the air and are home to rare and endangered species, points out Greenpeace. The NGO said it was “alarmed” by this decision and called on the government to back down.
William Ruto assured that the state is maintaining its goal of planting 15 billion trees over the next ten years.