Analysis of Mechanisms for the Protection of Traditional Forest Related Knowledge and Practices to Achieve Sustainable Forest Management; a Case Study of Kaya Forests of Kenya
Njagi, Ambrose, M
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There is a close nexus between biological and cultural diversity. International instruments that recognize this nexus include the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) and the Convention Concerning the Protection of the Worlds Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972). Traditional forest related knowledge is disappearing leading to forest degradation. Therefore, this study sought to examine methods through which traditional knowledge can be protected to ensure sustainable forest management. The Constitution of Kenya (2010) and Forest Conservation and Management Act (2014) call for the protection of traditional knowledge. The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expression Act (2016) was enacted to provide a framework for the protection and promotion of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. However, this Act only seeks to protect commercial interests arising from the exploitation of this knowledge but not conservation of natural resources. This study begins to address the knowledge gap by exploring the traditional knowledge of the Mijikenda community relevant to sustainable management of the Kaya forests. The study sought to; identify the traditional knowledge of the Mijikenda community that has contribute to the sustainable management of the Kaya Forests, appraise the effectiveness of the law and policy in protecting the traditional knowledge of the Mijikenda community relevant to sustainably managing of Kaya Forests and To investigate ways of integrating traditional knowledge into modern forest management practices. . Data was collected through questionnaires, key informant interviews and participatory observation. Respondents were drawn from villages adjacent to Kaya Kauma and Kaya Kinondo forests. Data was collected from four (4) focused group discussion comprising 4-12 respondents representing men, women, the elderly and youth. In-depth interviews of 9 key informants drawn from the National Museums of Kenya, Coastal Forest Conservation Unit, Kenya Copyrights Board, Kenya Industrial Property Institute, World Agro-Forestry, Kaya elders, and the Water, Environment & Natural Resources department of Kilifi County, was conducted. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. Quantitative data analysis was analyzed through descriptive statistics presented in charts and tables where necessary. This study has shown that traditional forest knowledge of the Mijikenda community is crucial to the sustainable management of the Kaya forests. Furthermore, the National and County government agencies tasked with the protection of traditional knowledge are not performing their roles. Moreover, government agencies do not work together to achieve this mutual goal. This study has confirmed that traditional knowledge is disappearing. The application of Mijikenda customary laws relating to forest management is not homogenous. In addition, knowledge on medical plants is commercially exploited by herbalists without benefiting the community. Members of the Mijikenda community are protecting their knowledge and customs through transmission to younger generations through instruction, practical lessons and cultural ceremonies. Some knowledge on medicinal plant and divination is kept a secret and is only shared among members of a family or clan. This study recommends the amendment of the law to include a listing system for all types of traditional knowledge and not just forest related the establishment of a central data base recording all the existing traditional forest related knowledge. A multistakeholder approach should be adopted in the protection of traditional knowledge. Research should be done on how contracts can be entered between holders of traditional knowledge and knowledge seekers especially knowledge relating to genetic resources and medical plants.
University of Nairobi
SubjectAnalysis of Mechanisms for the Protection of Traditional Forest Related Knowledge and Practices to Achieve Sustainable Forest Management; a Case Study of Kaya Forests of Kenya
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