The impact of participatory natural resource management on forest quality and livelihood systems in and around Arabuko Sokoke forest, Malindi, Kenya
Matiku, Paul Museng'ya
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The study assessed the impact of participatory natural resources management onlivelihoods.systems and forest quality. From the year 1993 to 2008, over ksh 331million was invested in Arabuko-sokoke forest (ASF) supporting household livelihoodsand strengthening local institutions to work with government to protect the forest. Priorto this study there were no studies relating the presence of policy and capacity buildingto household livelihoods and forest quality and biodiversity conservation. Between 2008and 2010, this study assessed the impact of participatory forest management (PFM)on forest quality and forest bird communities in ASF. The study questions were: i) doexisting policies and institutional frameworks provide for adequate natural resources managementand benefits sharing with local communities?; ii) is PFM an asset or liabilityto households living adjacent to ASF; iii) is the capacity oflocal community groups in PFMzones different from no PFM zones?; iv) and are forest birds and forest quality measuresin PFM areas higher than those without PFM? Policy and institutional frameworks wereanalysed through desk reviews with validation through interviews. Interviews were used to collect socio-economic data from 150 households in each of the PFM and no PFMzones. Data were collected within the intervention zone at 5 km equidistant from the forestedge in both the Mixed Forest (MF) and Cynometrawoodland (CW) PFM and no PFMzones along 10 km transect lengths. Forest quality and birds data were collected using1 km equidistant transects running from the forest edge towards the core of the forest.Sampling for birds and vegetation parameters were taken at intervals of 100 m. Vegetationmeasurements were taken within 15 m radius and birds point-counts inside 30-m radiuscircular plots totalling 200 plots per study zone. The study findings showed a strong policyand institutional framework ranging from the Kenya Constitution, 2010, Land Policy 2009to Forest Act 2005 among others. These policies have not been implemented in ASF asthe results showed a lack PFM management agreements between local communities andKFS, there are no benefit sharing mechanisms with local people and there is no genuineinvolvement oflocal communities in forest management against the policy provisions. Thestudied 600 households depend on the forest for extracting fire-wood, building materials,herbal medicine, non-timber forest products (butterflies, honey and mushroom), drinkingwater and grazing livestock. Forest benefits and costs are highest for households next to the forest and these reduce with distance from the forest. In 2009, the net daily householdincome in PFM zones was positive while that of no PFM zones was negative. Incomegenerating activities, particularly butterfly fanning and honey production are assets tohousehold livelihoods and 99% of households support forest conservation objectives with72% thinking the ASF has positive impacts to their livelihoods. The PFM zones havethe highest numbers of mature local groups and highest numbers of group members whosupport forest conservation. Measures of good forest quality were significantly higherin PFM than no PFM zones while vegetation disturbance measures were highest in noPFM zones. The Sorensen's Similarity Coefficient depict PFM and no PFM zones tobe either similar or closely related in birds distribution. The abundance of East CoastAkalat(Sheperdiagunningisokokensis) is significantly higher in the PFM than no PF11zones. The study concludes that while PFM is a good tool for forest conservation, it lacksthe requisite resources for implementation in ASF. It is critical to mainstream PFM ingovernment budgetary processes.