Forestry research in Kenya was started in 1934 as a unit of the then Forest Department. The unit later became a research branch focusing on applied research on forest silviculture, entomology, pathology and wood utilization. In 1948, the East Africa Agricultural and Forestry Organization (EAAFRO) was established in Muguga under the East Africa High Commission to undertake regional research including; tree breeding, forest pathology, forest entomology and catchment hydrology. In 1973, the research branch was transformed into a Research Conservancy of the Forest Department of EAAFRO.
Following the breakup of East African Community (EAC) in 1977, EAAFRO was disbanded. In 1981, the Research Division of EAAFRO and Research Conservancy of Forest Department were merged into the Forestry Research Department of the newly created Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) was established as a state corporation in 1986 under the Science and Technology Act Chapter 250 of the Laws of Kenya to focus on forestry research. The Act was repealed by the Science, Technology and Innovation Act No 28 of 2013. Kenya Forestry Research Institute is also mandated under the Forest Conservation and Management Act, 2016 to undertake forestry research.
KEFRI undertakes research and provides technologies and information for sustainable management, conservation and development of forests and allied natural resources. The Institute is ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems (QMS) certified and therefore conforms to international standards on environmental and quality management and relevant national legislations and its research meets international standards.
KEFRI currently undertakes its research and development activities under five thematic areas namely;
Forest Productivity and Improvement (FPI)
Biodiversity and Environment Management (BEM)
Forest Products Development (FPD)
Socio-Economic Policy and Governance (SPG)
Forestry Research and Support Services (FRSS).
These thematic areas are supported by Finance and Administration Department comprising Finance, Administration, Supply Chain and Human Resource Divisions; a Corporate Affairs and Quality Assurance Office; and Enterprise Office.
KEFRI research and development activities are implemented in all the agro-ecological zones of the country. The Institute has five (5) Eco-region Research Programmes:
Coast Eco-Region Research Programme (CERP)
Drylands Eco-Region Research Programme (DERP)
Central Highlands Eco-Region Research Programme (CHERP)
Rift Valley Eco-Region Research Programme (RVERP)
Lake Victoria Eco-Region Research Programme (LVERP).
KEFRI also runs one National Forest Products Research Programme (NFPRP). These Eco-regional Research Programmes have their main centres in Gede, Kitui, Muguga, Londiani, Maseno and Karura respectively. KEFRI headquarters is situated at Muguga.
A world class centre of excellence in forestry and allied natural resources research for sustainable development.
To conduct research and provide information and technologies for sustainable development of forestry and allied natural resources for socio-economic development.
Conduct research in forestry and allied natural resources.
Disseminate research findings to stakeholders.
Build capacity of stakeholders.
Establish partnerships and cooperate with other research organizations and institutions of higher learning in joint research and training.
The KEFRI Strategic Plan 2018-2022 will strive to achieve seven (7) strategic objectives which are to:
To generate technologies for establishment and management of forest plantations, trees on-farms and enhance production of superior germplasm for priority tree species for different agro-ecological zones.
To generate rehabilitation technologies for adaptation to climate change, sustainable forest landscapes, woodlands, wetlands and riparian eco-systems.
To develop technologies for efficient processing and utilization of wood and non-wood forest products.
To formulate forestry policies for sustainable forest management and improved livelihoods.
To disseminate forestry research technologies and enhance institutional research and development capacity.
To strengthen institutional capacity for research and development.
To enhance corporate communication and publicity.