Shocking pictures of forest destruction in the name of Research…

Reminds me of the kind of research the Japanese are doing on the whales!! Unbelievable that this researcher managed to get permission from the forestry dept. in a time when it is almost impossible to get any kind of permit in Kenya to cut trees, let alone in a protected forest……Whats worse is a university in America is sanctioning this research which involves cutting indigenous trees down in the Matthews forest…This all seems to me very strange… We have been in touch, with people in U.N.E.P., Division of early warning and assessment,who in turn contacted the Kenya forest service, who temporarily stopped the research!!, well the trees have already been cut!,and also with the head of department and his thesis adviser from the University…Below is some of the correspondence…

To Department of Biological Sciences..University of Illinois at Chicago..

Dear Sirs,

We are writing to you to bring your attention to Research work, being done by a student of yours in the Matthews range, Northern Kenya, which entails cutting alot of indigenous trees.. We would like to know if the university knows about it and if you sanction this destructive exercise…

We are writing from the Milgis Trust… Below is our Managers report on the issue, after he visited the sites, he also met with the community and tried to gather what ever information he could……

massive destruction.jpg



Plots cleared -9 and 11 more marked for clearing

Plots size approximate -60 m. diameter,

aprox no of trees cut down-234

Site visit

On visiting the site we saw the magnitude of the damage caused. Huge trees were felled and from the way the logs were cut it seemed there was some preparation for selling the logs. Majority were cut to similar sizes 2-3 feet long and arranged according to lengths. Some logs had numbers written on them.

Hundreds of plastic bands used for marking plots boundaries were all over the forest. This poses a danger to the wildlife in the area, who could feed on the bands.

Lots of painted pieces of wood used as pegs are also scattered all over the forest. This is a serious pollutant to the area and could cause contamination of the Ngeny river water once washed down stream when it rains. This also poses a danger to the users of the river water.

Our concern/worry

Matthews forest is one of the few remaining pristine forests in

, where human activities have not extended its destructive hand. This forest is the source of
the only permanent river in the area. Allowing such magnitude of destruction in the name of “research” poses a great danger to the survival of the communities that depend on it for water and to the wildlife that lives in the area, also rare species like the Debrazza monkeys. Also there are huge areas that have been burnt over the last few years, if he needs areas with out trees he could use these…

Moses Lesoloyia …Manager Milgis Trust

9 areas of aprox 60 meters diameter already cut...jpg

9/11/08 Thank you for your email. Over the next few days, I will talk to his thesis adviser, as well as other faculty on his thesis committee, about his research project and get back to you shortly. Head of dept..

Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 4:16 PM
Subject: Matthews research?

To..Head of dept, I am a little disappointed that we haven’t heard a word from any one from the university, on what is going on with this research in the Matthews range… This is now becoming a huge issue in Kenya, it has been brought up in parliament, and we are wondering why so many trees have to be cut down for research…There are hundreds of Americans supporting the Milgis trust, and other conservation projects to save these mountains, and there is an American university seemingly quite happy to let this go on… We are incredibly disappointed…Please get back to me what is going on and what this research is all about…

Dear Ms. Helen Douglas-Dufresne,
Thanks for the email. Since your first email of November 8th, and my reply, I have met twice with the researchers thesis adviser and one member of his thesis committee. The researchers adviser is in the process of writing a letter and has promised he would reply to you shortly.
Sincerely yours,

Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 10:12 AM
Subject: Re: Matthews research
Thank you again for your reassuring reply… We are sorry about this.. But we are genuinely concerned, about this situation… Nobody can understand why L. needs to cut some of them huge trees down, and clear big patches of forest, for research in this day and age where ALL forests in Africa are threatened…There has been massive fires in the Matthews mountains over the years if he needs places where there are no trees can’t he go and find these areas… What on earth is he studying??…Its actually an embarrassment … We are working really hard to save these forests, and this guy comes and does this…Hundreds of thousands of Nomadic people, and wildlife, rely on the water that flows out of these forests…the Nugent being one of the most important rivers flowing out of the Matthews…
There seems to have been large amounts of money available and or handed out to various people… Really and truly what is the motive.?.. yours Helen
To be continued tomorrow… with more correspondence from the thesis adviser..and more photos..

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  1. nairobinationalpark
    Posted December 2, 2008 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    This is indeed madness. The Ngeng Valley is one of the most pristine (& beautiful) places in Kenya.
    What on earth is going on? A terrifying story….Barack from Illinois are you reading this??

  2. Posted December 2, 2008 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Christ almighty! Why would any government agency allow this to happen? You’re right, Helen, this is just like the “research” conducted on whales right now in the Southern Antarctic seas by the Japanese. Utter crap.

    Did you hear back from the idiot thesis adviser?

    As for whether or not President-elect Obama reads this blog, or knows about this destruction, the answer is almost certainly “no.” He’s busy choosing Cabinet members and his first priority will be the American economy. Sorry all, but he is our President and the U.S. is his priority.

    However, can we also write to the University to protest this madness?


  3. paula
    Posted December 2, 2008 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Helen please let us have the contacts of people in Chicago we must can organize for our readers to write to the university and protest what is happening. This is absolutely outrageous! We cannot allow this kind of destructive research to happen in Kenya.

  4. paula
    Posted December 2, 2008 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Helen please let us have the contacts of people in Chicago we must can organize for our readers to write to the university and protest what is happening. This is absolutely outrageous! We cannot allow this kind of destructive research to happen in Kenya. I suggest you rescue the 200 odd felled trees, make something meaningful out of them and sell them with message – cut down by irresponsible scientist.

  5. Lisa
    Posted December 2, 2008 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Paula- please post the contact info.

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