BENEFITS TO FOREST ADJACENT COMMUNITIES UNDER THE OLD (1968) AND REVISED (2005) KENYAN FOREST LAWS

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Date
2015-09
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University of Eldoret
Abstract
Kenya reviewed its forest law in 2005, in part to enhance community participation in sustainable forest management (SFM) by enabling greater direct and indirect benefits to forest adjacent households as an incentive. Thus, this study was undertaken to compare benefits to forest adjacent households under the current Forests Act, 2005 and old Kenyan forest Cap 385 of 1968.This study was done in Kimondi and Masaita forests. Questionnaires were administered to 306 forest adjacent households to determine quantities and value of forest products extracted, their contribution to household livelihood, and factors influencing their extraction level from the forests. Completed questionnaires were coded and entered into a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 16) for analysis. The result showed that the major direct benefits to households were firewood, cultivation, grazing/fodder, wood/timber, and medicinal herbs. Socio-economic factors which positively influenced the quantity of household benefits from forests were household size, farm size, educational level and income of household head. Those which negatively influenced the quantity were types of crops cultivated, cost of production and low income. Pearson correlation test showed that there exists a positive significant (α=0.05) relationship between farm size and grazing (r=0.409), household size and firewood extraction (r=0.336), age and honey collected (r=0.205). There was a significant negative relationship between education level and size of land under cultivation (r=-0.154). The benefits enjoyed by households from the two forests were comparable. However, the quantities of benefits under the old legislation (Cap 385 of 1968) were more than those under the Forests Act No 7 of 2005. The value annually extracted by a household under the old Act Cap 385 of 1968 was Ksh.32830 (USD 381) compared to Ksh. 23700 (USD 276) under the current Act,2005 The large difference mainly resulted from benefits in grazing (Kshs.3000 (USD 35)- Cap 385 versus Ksh.1200 (USD 14))-Forests Act 2005, firewood (Ksh.16250 (USD 189)-Cap 385 versus Ksh.7000(USD 81)-Cap 385, and cultivation on forest land (Ksh.5000 (USD 59 ) –Cap385 versus Ksh.1750 (USD 20 –Cap 385). Cited reasons were lengthy and costly bureaucratic procedures as major hindrance to household benefitting from forests, which is a disincentive to community participation, while this was a prime objective of the revised law. There is need to mitigate these barriers to make community participation in SFM more effective.
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