Definition of Terms

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TECHNICAL FOREST DEFINITIONS


“Afforestation” means the establishment of a tree crop on an area where such trees are absent;

“Arboretum” means a botanical garden of trees;

“Biodiversity” means the variability among living organisms from all sources, including the ecological complexes of which they are a part and the diversity within and among species, and ecosystems;

“Catchment area” means any land area drained by a river, stream, or fixed body of water and its tributaries having a common source of surface run-off;

"Chain of custody" means the channel through which products are distributed, tracked and monitored from their origin in the forest to their end-use;

“Chainsaw” means a motorized equipment used for cutting wood;

“commercial use” means any use of forest products or forest land, other than direct use for personal purposes or infrastructure development and it includes uses involving trade or any other disposition of forest products or forest land for direct or indirect financial benefits;

“community” means a clearly defined group of users of forest land identified on the basis of ethnicity, culture or similar community of interests as provided under Article 63 of the Constitution;

“community forest” means forest situated on trust land that had been set aside as a forest by a local authority pursuant to the provisions of the Trust Lands Act; any arboretum, recreational park, or mini forest created under Section 30 of the Forests Act, 2005; any forest that has been established as a local authority forest in accordance with the provisions of Section 24 of the Forests Act, 2005.

“Community forest association” means a group of local persons who have registered as an association or other organization established to engage in forest management and conservation.

“Concession” means the right of use granted to an individual or organization in respect of a specified forest area;

“concession agreement” means authorization which is a long term agreement issued by the Service or the County Department responsible for forestry for the management of a specified forest area at a price determined after forest valuation and bidding;

"Consumptive use" in relation to a forest, means the removal of a forest produce, “and non-consumptive use” shall be construed accordingly;

“County chief officer” means the county chief officer responsible to the county executive committee member for the administration of the county department responsible for forestry;

“County department” means the county department for the time being responsible for forestry; “County executive committee member” means the county executive committee member responsible for matters relating to forestry;

“county forest” means forest as classified under section 31(3);

“County public officer” means the county public officer responsible to the county chief officer for the administration of forestry matters;

“customary rights” mean the rights which result from a long series of habitual or customary actions, constantly repeated, which have, by such repetition and by uninterrupted acquiescence, acquired the force of a law within a geographical or sociological unit;

“deforestation” means the negative reduction of forest cover from the original status;

“ecosystem” means a dynamic complex of plant, animal micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit;

“ecotourism” Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (an accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active social involvement of local peoples

“Forest Conservation Committee” means a committee established in each forest conservancy area or part thereof to advice the Board on all matters relating to management and conservation of forests in that area;

“farm forestry” means the practice of managing trees on farms whether singly, in rows, lines, boundaries, or in woodlots or private forests;

“forest” means a land area of more than 0.5 hectares, with a tree canopy cover of more than 10%, which is not primarily under agricultural or other specific non-forest land use. 

“forestland” means a tract of land, including its flora and fauna, that is devoted to growing trees for the production of timber, wood and other forest products; “forest community” means

  1. A group of persons who have traditional associations with a forest for the purposes of livelihood, culture or religion; or
  2. are registered as an association or other organisation engaged in forest conservation;

“forest concession” means the right of use granted to an individual or organization in respect to a specific area in a national or county forest by means of a long-term contract for the purpose of commercial forest management and utilization; “forest conservancy area” means an area established by the Board under Section 13 of the Forests Act 2005, Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 88 (Acts No. 7). “forest industries” means all businesses and organizations whose primary activities include growing, managing, processing or marketing of trees; “forest manager” means a person responsible for the management of a forest under his/her charge and implementation of this Act including-

  • in the case of a national forest, the Kenya Forest Service;
  • in the case of a county forest, the County government;
  • in the case of community forest, the community land management committee established under the Community Land Act; and
  • in the case of a private forest, the owner of the private forest.


“forest management plan” means a written document establishing direction and goals for the management, conservation and utilization of a specific forest land area; specifying- (i) all silvicultural practices and activities necessary to accomplish the merchantable production of a forest product; and (ii) all practices that will minimize adverse environmental effects and improve livelihoods, “forest officer” includes the professional, technical and disciplined cadre of the Service; “forest owner” means - (a) in the case of a national forest, the Kenya Forest Service; (b) in the case of a county forest, the County Government; (c) in the case of a community forest, the community; (d) in the case of a private forest, an individual, association, institution or body corporate

“forest produce” includes bark, bat droppings, beeswax, canes, charcoal, creepers, earth, fibrewood, frankincense, fruit galls, grass, gum, honey, leaves, flower, limestone, moss, murram, myrrh, peat, plants, reeds, resin, rushes, rubber, sap, seeds, spices, stones, timber, trees, water, waxwithies and such other things as may be declared by the Minister to be forest produce for the purpose of the Forest Act 2005;

“forest resources” means anything of practical, commercial, social, religious, spiritual, recreational, educational, scientific, subsistence, or other potential use to humans that exists in the forest environment, including but not limited to flora, fauna, and microorganisms;

“forestry” refers to the science of establishing, tending and protecting forest and tree resources, and includes the processing and use of forests and tree products;

“Forest Sink Initiative” means such initiative or scheme by the Government to promote the establishment of forests as carbon sink and climate change mitigation and adaptation. “Forestry Society of Kenya” means the registered association of professional foresters; “Fund” means the fund established pursuant to Section 28. “green zone” trees planted in an urban area covering less than 0.5 ha.

“indigenous forest” means a forest which has come about by natural regeneration of trees primarily native to Kenya, and includes mangrove and bamboo forests;

“joint management agreement” means authorization where the Service or the County Department responsible for forestry agrees to enter into partnership with other persons for the joint management of a specified forest area, specifying the contribution, rights and obligations of each party and setting out the methods of sharing the costs and benefits accruing from the forest so managed;

“Kenya Forestry College” means the college of that name operating under the forest department;

“Kenya Forestry Society” means the registered professional association of the forest officers;

“livestock” means domesticated animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, assess, horses, camels and pigs and includes the young ones thereof;

“local authority” means:-

  1. any forest situated on trust land which has been set aside as a forest by a local authority pursuant to the provisions of the Trust Land Act;
  2. any arboretum, recreational park or mini-forest created under section 30 of the Forest Act 2005;
  3. any forest established as a local authority forest in accordance with the provisions of section 20 of the Forest Act 2005;


“management agreement” means an agreement between the service and a local authority or any person or organization for the purpose of managing a state or local authority forest;

“management plan” refers to a systematic programme showing all activities to be undertaken in a forest or part thereof during a period of at least five years, and includes conservation, utilization silvicultural operations and infrastructural development;

“mini- forest” refers to a group of trees occupying less than ten hectares of land;

“nature reserve” means an area of land declared to be a nature reserve under section 32 of the Forest Act 2005 or Section 41 of the Forest Bill 2015;

“non-consumptive use” in relation to a forest means non-extractive use of forest;

“permit” means authorization issued to a person to undertake a specified forestry-related activity or service;

“plantation forest” means a forest that has been established through forestation or reforestation for commercial purposes;

“private forest” include:- (a) forests on registered land held by any person under any freehold tenure; (b) forests on land held by any person under leasehold tenure; (c) any forest owned privately by an individual, institution or body corporate for commercial or non-commercial purposes; and forests on any other land declared private land under an Act of Parliament

“property mark” means a mark placed on a log, timber or other forest produce with a prescribed instrument to denote ownership by the Service, County Government or any other owner;

“protected tree” means any tree or tree species which have been declared under the Forest Act to be protected;

“provisional forest” means any forest which has been declared a provisional forest by the by the Cabinet secretary under section 37 of the Forest Bill 2015;

“national forest” means forest as classified under section 31(2) of the Forest Bill 2015;

“responsible authority” in relation to a forest area means the Service, in the case of a state or provisional forest, the local authority concerned in the case of a local authority forest and the private land owner in the case of private forests;

“sacred grove” means a grove with religious or cultural significance to a forest community;

“sawmill” means a set of machinery used to process and convert wood into saw timber;

“silviculture” means controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health, and quality of forests and woodlands

“special use licence” means authorization issued to a person to undertake an activity whose primary purpose is to yield public benefit in transportation, communication, energy, research or education;


“state forest” means any forest –

  1. declared by the Minister to be central forest, a forest area or nature reserve before the commencement of the Forest Act 2005and which has not ceased to be such a forest or nature reserve or;
  2. declared to be a state forest in accordance with the provisions of section 23 of the Forest Act 2005;


“sustainable use”, in relation to a forest, means the use of a forest and any of its natural resources in a manner and to an extent which does not compromise the capacity of the forest and its use by future generations, and does not degrade the carrying capacity of its supporting ecosystems;

“sustainable management”, in relation to a forest, means management of the forest so as to permit any such use of it as constitutes sustainable use;

“timber” means any tree that has been felled or which has fallen, and cut wood or logs;

“timber licence” means authorization issued to a person for timber harvesting in a specified forest area;

“tree” means any timber producing plant, or shrubs, bush of any kind, and includes a seedling, sapling or reshoot of any age, or any part thereof;

“unalienated government land” means land for the time being vested in the Government which –

  • is not the subject of any conveyance, lease or occupation license from the Government;
  • has not been dedicated or set aside for the use of public, and includes out-pans; and
  • has not been declared to be a State Forest;


“wildlife” means all forms of fauna and flora other than domesticated plants and animals;

“woodland” means an open stand of trees of 10% to 30% of tree canopy cover and trees growing to 2m tall that has come about by natural regeneration

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