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Timber

Other Forest-Risk Commodities

Kenya
Timber Risk Score
68.6
Timber Risk Profile
Higher Risk
Conflict State
No
Import Regulation
No
Risk Profile
Lower Risk
Latest Updates Click for latest news from Kenya
April 8, 2024
Kenya talks big on climate, while illegal timber from ancient trees flows in daily from the DRC

Kenya is a key market of illegally logged timber, consuming as many as 300 trucks of timber monthly from the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Kenyan dealers are a common feature in Lia, a border point on the Uganda-DRC frontier, where timber with questionable, if any, documents passes into Uganda en route to Kenya. As much as 80% of timber that arrives at Lia is destined for Kenya, a person working at the border said in an interview.

 

Official statistics The Africa Report received from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) reflect timber volumes entering the country. KRA statistics indicate that 145,479 tonnes of timber, or 468,924m3, entered Kenya between January 2020 and December 2022.

Though KRA does not detail the species, the UN Comtrade database does. Timber imported into Kenya was declared as mahogany except for 624 tonnes of Afzelia africana and 6.6 tonnes of iroko, or African teak. Afzelia africana, also sometimes called African mahogany, was listed as an endangered species in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2022.

According to official data, roughly 132 tonnes, or four trucks, were entering Kenya daily between 2020 and 2022, which is less than half of what Uganda traders on the border witness.

More...
April 3, 2024
Timber hustling: Lia, a thriving hub for Congolese mahogany trafficked to Uganda, Kenya

For at least 25 years, high-ranking Ugandan officials have turned a blind eye to pillaging hardwood from the Congo Basin in the DRC, according to the UN. The illegal, and rampant, deforestation continues as a small village turns into a timber station.

This is the first article in a four-part investigation into a Congolese wood trafficking hub on the border of Uganda. It reveals a burgeoning trade and an open secret.

This series was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center Rainforest Investigations Network.

More...
April 3, 2024
How Congo’s trees are smuggled through East Africa

Criminals in East Africa are exploiting the multiple conflicts in the north-east of the DRC to allow the trafficking of its protected hardwoods.

The key economies in the East African Community – Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – are all benefiting from this timber trafficking and flagrantly breaking their environmental pledges. The illicit trade is facilitated by ‘big men’ close to security services and politicians across the region – they ensure the border controls fail.

Corrupt payments by the loggers and truckers to border checkpoints oil the wheels of the trade, where fake certificates of origin are produced for a large fee.

More...
March 14, 2024
Climate change brews trouble for tea industry, but circular solutions await

As global tea demand grows by over 2% annually, the pressure on land for cultivation may lead to increased deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, further intensifying the impacts of climate change. Once tea is plucked it must go through various stages of processing, including withering and drying: energy-intensive processes that often use vast amounts of wood or, in some cases, fossil fuels such as coal. This not only results in CO2 emissions, but also has the potential for “hidden deforestation” for wood to burn.

More...
January 19, 2024
Mapping the diversity of land uses following deforestation across Africa

The first high-resolution (5 m) and continental-scale
mapping of land use following deforestation in Africa, including humid and dry forests.

 

Results show, not surprisingly,  that the causes of forest loss vary by region. In general, small-scale cropland is the
dominant driver of forest loss in Africa, with hotspots in Madagascar and DRC. In addition, commodity
crops such as cacao, oil palm, and rubber are the dominant drivers of forest loss in the humid forests of
western and central Africa, forming an “arc of commodity crops” in that region. At the same time, the
hotspots for cashew are found to increasingly dominate in the dry forests of both western and southeastern Africa, while larger hotspots for large-scale croplands were found in Nigeria and Zambia.

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November 14, 2023
What Kenya needs to improve its forest cover – Report

A new report by Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom has explored the detrimental impacts of these unsustainable practices on the environment, local communities, and the economy.

 

Illegal logging, charcoal burning, and firewood trade in Kenya remain one of the major challenges in a bid to improve forest cover.

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November 9, 2023
Kenya's Ogiek people being evicted for carbon credits - lawyers

Kenya’s government is illegally evicting hunter-gatherers from their ancestral lands to profit from carbon offsetting schemes, human rights lawyers say.

Hundreds of members of the Ogiek community are being evicted from the Mau Forest, say their representatives.

 

Ogiek leader Daniel Kobei said armed forest rangers were “pulling down the houses with axes and hammers”.

 

Kenya’s government says such operations are to protect the environment.

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November 8, 2023
Human rights groups demand Kenyan government halt forced evictions of Ogiek community from Mau forest

Long-running tensions between the community and the Kenyan government resurfaced this month when rangers from Kenya’s wildlife and forest services began forcing the Ogiek out of their homes in the Mau forest. Community leaders estimate roughly 400 houses have been demolished, leaving families displaced or seeking shelter from recent rains in makeshift structures.

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November 7, 2023
Deforestation continues in Kenya’s largest water capturing forest, satellites show

New satellite data shows ongoing tree cover loss in Kenya’s largest water catchment, the Mau Forest, despite protection efforts.

 

More than 19% of tree cover was lost between 2001 and 2022, mostly due to agriculture.

 

Unclear boundaries and limited enforcement allow illegal logging and agricultural expansion to continue, degrading protected reserves.

More...
October 13, 2023
Ruto order lifting ban on logging is illegal, court rules

Environment and Lands Court has declared President William Ruto’s directive to allow logging in forests across the country illegal and unconstitutional.

 

In a judgment issued by Justice Oscar Angote yesterday, the court concurred with the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) arguments that Ruto’s order that lifted a countrywide ban on logging was done illegally without following the due process because public participation was not conducted.

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October 13, 2023
No sacred cows in war against illegal forest activities, says CS Tuya

Environment CS Soipan Tuya has announced the purge against illegal loggers will proceed as planned. “We have come to witness the Chief Conservator of Forests issue show case letters and taking of disciplinary steps for forest officers who have been under investigation over the past months following intelligence reports,” Tuya said.

 

Ruto pointed to reports of rampant illegal logging, encroachment and other related illegal activities, some of which he stated are being aided and abetted by the KFS management and staff.

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August 9, 2023
Kenyan court stays President William Ruto’s directive lifting a ban on logging

Kenya’s Environment and Land Court (ELC) August 3, 2023 issued interim orders against the policy directive by President William Ruto in July 2023 lifting a moratorium on logging pending the hearing and determination of the case.

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The court ordered a 14-day stay on President Ruto’s repeal of a logging moratorium introduced in 2018 to curb the rapid disappearance of forests.

More...
August 7, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT The East AfricanScience & Health Africa timber trade still stuck in the woods

African foresters want a change in government policies to allow easier trade in timber, taking advantage of available forests and to weed out exploitative trade routes.

They argue that archaic laws are, in fact, fuelling illegal harvesting and sale of trees which in turn cause losses to revenue agencies.

 

Studies commissioned by the African Forest Forum revealed that Africa’s export challenges in the forestry sector are complex.

The research papers uncovered a scarcity of documented trade data on forest products occurring between borders, for example.

They showed that the quantities and sales remain unknown, highlighting the concealed opportunity for governments to generate significant revenue.

According to Dr Cheboiwo, efforts have been made to condemn illegal logging activities, but less attention has been given towards implementing reforms.

More...
August 7, 2023
Relief and despair: Repeal of logging ban divides Kenya

It was the news Kenya’s timber industry had waited over five years to hear: a ban on logging was over, and the country’s forests were once again open for business. But conservationists were dismayed at the announcement in July by President William Ruto, who had cast himself as a champion of the environment, and made planting 15 billion trees a centerpiece of his climate change agenda. The government defended lifting the ban, insisting that only mature trees in state-run plantations would be felled, and that Kenya’s most biodiverse and carbon-rich wild forests would remain untouched.

The explanation did little to quash charges of hypocrisy, with Ruto just weeks away from hosting a international climate conference in Nairobi.

More...
May 6, 2023
CS Tuya orders crackdown on illegal logging, encroachment of public forests

Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya has ordered the Kenya Forest Service to mount a nationwide crackdown on illegal logging, encroachment and charcoal burning, which she blamed for the recent spike in forest fires.

 

Speaking on Friday at a press briefing, CS Tuya cautioned communities living adjacent to public forests against engaging in illegal forest activities and asked them to be the first line of defence for Kenya’s forests.

More...
April 20, 2023
Illegal logging in Africa is a threat to security

Drawing from Center fro Africa Strategic Stiudies  recent report, which is based on  recent research and programmatic work at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, we have analyzed three ways that illegal logging affects national security and what that means for current measures to counter it.

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April 15, 2023
Charcoal and water wars are here, thanks to rising consciousness among rural folks

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and local leaders have banned the charcoal trade, but in a country with a booming population, and where only 1.7 million of about eight million households are connected to grid electricity, charcoal for cooking is too precious.

 

A politician recently launched a campaign against the runaway illegal charcoal trade in the region, and a growing number of local and anti-charcoal vigilantes are emerging to enforce bans on the trade.

The Acholi region, where Gulu is, currently supplies a considerable chunk of the charcoal consumed in Uganda cities such as Kampala. Ugandan charcoal is also in big demand in Kenya, and a lucrative legal and illegal cross-border trade in the commodity thrives.

More...
August 12, 2022
New Report from ACSS: Illegal Logging in Africa and Its Security Implications

Illegal logging is a growing feature of transnational organized crime in Africa, often facilitated by the collusion of senior officials, with far-reaching security and environmental implications for the countries affected.

More...
May 8, 2022
Fires, drought, logging, encroachment hurt 10% tree cover goal

Forest fires, drought, logging and encroachment have been cited as some of the challenges that have hampered the achievement of 10 per cent tree cover in the country. Kenya Wildlife Service senior assistant director in charge of the mountain conservation area George Nagwala on Friday said the Aberdare ecosystem is coming out of a very serious fire season.

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April 18, 2022
Kenya: As Kenyans Farm in Forests, Incomes Rise and Deforestation Falls

Lari — Forest authorities say Kenya’s scheme to let farmers grow crops in forests has slashed illegal logging, as the country aims for 10% of its land in trees by the end of the year

Kenya wants to increase tree cover from 7% to 10% by end of year

Farmers in forests make extra income, drive off illegal loggers

Some farmers are frustrated by limits on what they can grow

More...
December 28, 2021
Kenya court orders return of $13m in seized rosewood to suspected traffickers

In November, a Kenyan court ordered the release of 646 metric tons of Malagasy rosewood (Dalbergia spp.), worth up to $13 million, to a Hong Kong-based company from which it had been seized in 2014 by Kenyan authorities.

More...
Key Resources
Click here for a collection of Forest Trends publications related to IDAT Risk, including the full set of Timber Legality Risk Country Dashboards.
Methodology
Click here to download the Methodology which includes information on data sources, the methodology used to create risk indicators, and a glossary of key terms.
Data Tools

Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.

Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.

Export Restrictions
Click here to download a database of forest policy export restrictions.