An assessment of the challenges and opportunities of restoring the Mau Narok forest at Mau Narok division Njoro district, Nakuru county, Kenya.
Kamau, Peter Waithiru
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The Mau Forests Complex (MFC) is considered the most important of the five main watershed areas in Kenya because of its economic, social and environmental contribution to the country. The forest is under increasing threat from irregular and ill‐planned settlements, encroachments and illegal forest resource exploitation. In recent years, the Government of Kenya (GoK) has taken significant steps towards addressing the threat of rapid ecological degradation of its forest resources. A new forest policy and law were adopted in 2005. The forest law has placed significant emphasis on co‐management of forest resources with local communities and the private sector and lays the foundation for the strict control of logging and human settlements. Another major step in addressing this issue was to commence restoration activities of the forests with focus set on Mau Forest. The Mau Narok forest is a part of the Mau Forest Complex where such restoration activities have taken place. The past restoration efforts at the Mau Narok Forest have not been successful evidenced by the massive dying of newly planted trees leading to duplication of reforestation efforts. There is no research study that documents the challenges and the opportunities of restoring the Mau Narok Forest. The purpose of the study was to investigate the challenges and opportunities of restoring the forest as the way to improve seedling survival rate. This study was based in Mau Narok Division, and attempted to assess the factors that retard the restoration efforts and also came up with the opportunities that had not been seized. The study was able to unmask most of the challenges and opportunities. Among the challenges, included insufficient funds to undertake the restoration activities fully that specifically involve planting, tendering and protection exercises. In the opportunities, the local community has a great potential to participate fully in the conserving and restoring the Mau Narok Forest.