An Assessment of the Implementation of Participatory Forest Management (Pfm) by Ngong Road Community Forest Association (Cfa) in Nairobi County, Kenya.
In Kenya, the forest ecosystem has undergone such considerable degradation that the country’s forest cover is only 3% of the total land area, way below the internationally recommended level of 10% cover. From independence, only the government was involved in forest management. Despite this, the country’s forest cover continued to deteriorate. To stem this decline, the Kenyan Government enacted the Forests Act, 2005, which allows for the participation of both government and communities living around forests in the forest management. The communities enter into management agreements with the Kenya Forest Service. They then form and register Community Forest Associations which serve as the avenues through which they can be allowed to manage the forests. This arrangement gave rise to the concept of Participatory Forest Management. The aim of this research was to study the implementation of Participatory Forest Management by Community Forest Associations using Ngong Road Forest in Nairobi County, Kenya as a case study. It specifically focused on description of the organizational arrangement of the Community Forest Association of Ngong Road Forest; assessment of their activities and roles; and identification of the opportunities and challenges that the CFAs face in the course of implementing PFM. The study used both qualitative and quantitative research designs to present a detailed picture of Participatory Forest Management in Ngong Road Forest focusing on its CFA members. The data source comprised of the Ngong Road Forest CFA members. Data collection was done by use of questionnaires and interview schedules. This study generated both qualitative and quantitative data which was collated and summarized descriptively in the form of tables, graphs and maps. The study found out that Ngong Road Forest has formed a CFA in line with the provisions of the Forests Act, 2005. The CFA members are categorized into forest beats for ease of management. In each beat, there are user groups who specialize in diverse activities within the forest. There were more women than men in the association. The activities of the CFA members ranged from tree nursery establishment, beekeeping, fuel wood collection to harvesting of plant parts for medicinal purposes. Their roles included conservation of the forest through tree planting, weed control, forest fire control and forest protection from illegal activities. A number of opportunities and challenges were found to face the community members in the course of their execution of the forest management mandate. The study concluded that CFAs play a very important role in the restoration of forests and the paradigm shift in forest management can pave the way for achieving the internationally recommended 10% forest cover by 2030. It is recommended that capacity building for the community members on the provisions of the Forests Act 2005 be carried out by the Government to sensitize them on the requirements of the new forest dispensation.