Pastoralists living around the Kirisia Forest will receive 1,000 beehives as part of a strategy to conserve the forest and reclaim the ecosystem.
The initiative is fronted by the government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko said the move is part of a greater project that aims at ensuring success in the restoration of the largest water catchment area in the North Rift region.
"We successfully restored the Kirisia forest. I am happy that most squatters moved out of the forest voluntarily and we did not witness the pull and push like that of Mau forest. We are currently on a restoration mission," Mr Tobiko said.
Mr Tobiko said they have partnered with FAO in engaging locals in the area to practice apiculture in the Kirisia forest to generate their daily earnings and at the same time take the initiative of safeguarding the forest.
"We will issue them with beehives and guide them on how to start apiculture. The forest is now fully restored they (can reap) big from the natural insects," the CS added.
Constant conflicts with neighbouring communities over grazing fields and water forced squatters to encroach on Kirisia Forest about 30 years ago.
However, they voluntarily vacated the forest to allow the restoration programme.
The more than 500 families voluntarily left the 91,452 hectares (some 225,982 acres) of gazetted dryland forest, bolstering government efforts to increase tree cover to 10 per cent by 2022, from the current 7.5 percent.
The CS lauded Samburu leaders and locals for moving out voluntarily.
"Samburu locals made history because they left peacefully. I also want to commend Samburu political leaders who kept off the exercise. You are on the world map as this is the first time those who got into the forest for 30 years are moving out. For the first time in 30 years, water is flowing in Kirisia forest," Mr Tobiko said.
Following the voluntary exit from the water tower, CS Tobiko said the government and other partners have been leading restoration efforts to safeguard the ecosystem and also prevent fresh encroachment attempts.
Samburu County has a forest cover of 12 percent with three large forest covers that include Kirisia forest, Ndoto Ng’iro forest and Mathew Rangers.
It is said that the Kirisia forest, locally known as Leroghi forest, is two times bigger than the Maasai Mau forest.
The ecosystem has more than 10 rivers with indigenous trees, such as sandalwood, red cedar, podo and a whole range of wildlife.