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What rights and benefits? The implementation of participatory forest management in Kenya: The case of Eastern Mau Forest Reserve

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Jane M. Mutune, Christian P. Hansen, Raphael G. Wahome, David N. Mungai

The study espoused the access analytical framework to investigate how introduction of Participatory Forest Management (PFM) in Kenya has changed the various actors’ ability to benefit from the forest resources of Eastern Mau Forest Reserve. Data collected through key informant interviews, and a household survey showed that implementation of PFM has triggered new income opportunities for forest adjacent communities in seedling production and beekeeping. However, PFM bestowed no real decision-making powers to the established Community Forest Associations (CFAs) over important forest resources such as timber and firewood. Members of the local communities and other actors have continued to access these resources through various structural and relational means, in the same way as before the introduction of PFM. Further, it is documented that PFM has introduced additional burdens on the local communities, especially the poorest households, as a result of increased enforcement of rules. Based on these findings, it is suggested that the PFM policy in Kenya, in its current form, is unlikely to realize its dual objectives of forest conservation and livelihood enhancement. To attain them would require a further devolution of rights to the CFAs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sustainable Forestry
Volume36
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)230-249
Number of pages20
ISSN1054-9811
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2017

    Research areas

  • Community forestry, decentralization, forest access, livelihoods, user groups

ID: 196736751