Policy Makers’ Perspective on Impacts of Decentralizing Forest Management in Kenya on Forestry Conservation and Community Livelihoods
Musingo, Tito E. Mbuvi
Kungu, James B.
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Forests in Kenya were under traditional community management regimes up to 1891 when formal state management of forests started in Vanga Mangrove forest and later the entire country. In 1997 decentralized forest governance was successfully piloted through Participatory Forest Management in Kenya. This informed review of the Forests Act, Cap 385 to The Forests Act, 2005 subsequently revised to Forest Conservation and Management Act, 2016. The Act has explicit support to decentralized forest management with special focus on communities. The study determined the perceptions of policy makers on: why decentralization was introduced; policy makers’ understanding of decentralization and its impact on forest management and community livelihoods. Literature review was conducted, questionnaires administered and Key Informant Interview and Focus Group Discussion held. The policy makers indicated that decentralization was being implemented in the country and they could distinguish the models being practiced and noted that decentralization was facilitating stakeholder participation and improving forest conservation and community livelihoods. The key challenges were; inadequate budgetary allocation; failure by state to transfer key functions to communities but had decentralized roles that reduce costs. The country has three forest management models and each was best in its context but can be enhanced through capacity building, financial support and partnerships.