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Lifting of a Six-year Ban on Logging in Kenya has Sparked Outrage 

Activists say the decision has once again put a harsh spotlight on the government’s mismanagement of the country’s forests. The logging ban was introduced in 2018 after public outcry over shrinking water resources blamed on the destruction of water towers — mountain forests that are key sources of water. The Mau Forest in the Rift Valley was one of the most affected water towers. For Ruto, the lifting of the ban in order to create more jobs in a sector that employs up to 50,000 people directly and another 300,000 indirectly may have been irresistible, especially with the economy struggling. The bigger picture issue concerns the potential damage to the environment. Efforts to plant trees, such as the African Union-led $8 billion Great Green Wall Initiative to restore the degraded landscapes, are looking to forestation to tackle global warming. The impact of climate change is already clear from recurring droughts that have gripped Kenya and neighboring countries in recent years. The lifting of the logging ban could open the door to abuses that deepen the problems of climate change, meaning an attempt to fix short term economic problems could cause long term pain.