Main content area

Equity Mechanisms in Traditional Forest Management Systems: A Case Study of Loita Forest in Kenya

Mbuvi, Musingo T. E., Musyoki, Josephine K., Ongugo, Paul O.
Journal of sustainable forestry 2015 v.34 no.4 pp. 380-405
assets, case studies, forest management, forest resources, forests, grazing, households, humans, livelihood, management systems, natural resource management, politics, support systems, Kenya
Equity in forest resources access remains a key challenge. In Kenya this was exacerbated by the application of command and control management approaches. The introduction of Participatory Forest Management (PFM) in 1997 has started changing this scenario. The main objective of this study was to determine the equity mechanisms practiced under Traditional Community Based Forest Management (TCBFM), a traditional form of participatory forest management in Loita forest. An assessment of the impact of this management approach showed that equity and pro poor practices were inherent in Loita forest, where TCBFM was being implemented. The approach facilitated the poor to build up assets through relatives contributing to their livelihood assets. This was sustained through traditional support systems that are interwoven with forestry management. A majority of the community members interviewed perceived that the importance of the forest to household livelihood had been increasing since 1995. An increase in household assets since 1995 was associated with household participation in Traditional Community Based Natural Resources Management (TCBNRM). A majority (93%) of the households who were members of TCBNRM indicated grazing as the benefit. There was a general perception that participation in this form of PFM contributed to improvement of economic, physical, natural, human, social, and political capitals at the household and community levels.