By Sharon Atieno
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has received two drones worth EUR 106,000 to boost its efforts in forest surveillance across the country.
The drones given by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will help in forest conservation by providing real-time information on fires, and logging activities as well as monitoring tree growth.
The Delta quad pro drones can fly up to 100 kilometres from the ground and map about 5,400 hectares on a charge lasting 110 minutes.
Speaking during the launch of the drones in Nairobi, Qu Dongyu, FAO Director General, said adaptation including planting trees is the only solution to deal with climate change which is having a negative impact on Kenya and other countries across the globe.
Dongyu further noted that leveraging technology, indigenous knowledge and collaboration is crucial to prevent further environmental degradation and safeguard the planet.
On the other hand, the KFS Chief Conservator of Forests, Julius Kamau, highlighted the importance of partnerships in ensuring the conservation of forest ecosystems.
In particular, Kamau said, the initiative on capacity, policy, and financial incentive for participatory forest management by FAO and KFS in the Kirisia-Nairobi forest ecosystem which covers 91,000 hectares has been able to deliver serious biodiversity conservation, climate change and livelihood benefits.
Through the partnership with FAO, 10 KFS technical officers have been trained in handling the operation of the drones. However, the operationalization of the drones is pending licensing from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).