HC Deb 02 November 1938 vol 340 cc189-90
16. Mr. R. Gibson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the types of trees sought to be preserved in Kenya; whether, and to what extent, the timber therefrom is of value locally and for export; and what is the corresponding information regarding trees sought to be propagated by afforestation?

Mr. M. MacDonald

As the reply is necessarily long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Gibson

Is the object of the right hon. Gentleman's policy to preserve timber or to protect the surface of the ground?

Mr. MacDonald

I think that if the hon. and learned Gentleman studies the answer he will find there the reply to his question.

Following is the reply:

Forestry in Kenya.

It is sought to preserve as permanent forest areas all surviving closed forests of any size. In addition it is considered desirable to preserve in selected areas a proportion of the open types, such as acacia and brachystagia which cover such large areas at the lower altitudes. In the closed forests over the greater part the natural forest is being preserved. It is largely inaccessible for exploitation, except for purely local needs, but plays an invaluable part in climate and water conservation. In the accessible timber forests there are two main types, the cedar-olive-podocarpus forests and the camphor forests. The latter contain camphor (ocotea), podocarpus (P. milanjianus) and a considerable variety of hardwoods of no great value. These forests are being preserved to a large extent in their natural state, but an endeavour is made to increase the proportion of camphor and podocarpus which are the most valuable timbers. In the cedar types, which are by far the largest part of the exploitable forests, the valuable timbers are cedar, podocarpus (P. gracilior), mueri (pygeum) and olive (olea hochatetteri). Those are all of value locally and the first two, though not outstanding, are of sufficient quality for export.

For replanting and for afforestation cedar is largely propagated. Instead of podocarpus, cypress is used as it not only grows much faster but is likely to produce a more generally useful wood which will compete with any of the world's export softwoods. Other trees largely used are grevilles and Australian blackwood which grow very well and yield first-class timber. Where an early supply of fuel and poles is needed eucalypts and wattle are planted. Certain other types of trees, for example, muringa (cordia), muhuru (vitex), East African satinwood (fagara), muhugu (brachylaena) are considered valuable timbers for local use and export. They are being preserved and planted but they can only be grown in very restricted localities.

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