Factors influencing community conservation of forests: the case of Upper Imenti Forest-Imenti North District, Kenya
Raiji, Thomas K
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Forests, trees and woodlands are important biophysical resources that have direct and indirect linkage to our livelihood. Well managed, forests, trees and woodlands are renewable resources with the potential to spur economic growth in the country probably more than most of the natural resources that the country has. The consequences of forest destruction are dire and have deep and wider implications as evidenced by food insecurity, unpredictable weather patterns, droughts, famines and escalations of natural resource based conflicts. In the past, forest lands have been easy targets of power elites and land speculators. The enactment of Kenya Forest Act 2005 gives the Kenya Forests Service the mandate to hold in trust all forests in the country for all Kenyans. Additionally, the Act recognizes the role of forest adjacent communities as legitimate stakeholders in the .conservation of forests. Forests are the pillars that secure Kenya's economy through support of key sectors. The objectives of the- study have been formulated and revolve around establishing how education, development partners, population, local contributions and poverty cumulatively influence forest conservation. This study was a qualitative research design. It constituted the blueprint for the collection, measurement and analysis of data but did not produce discrete numerical data. The study used the probability sampling technique to get the required sample size. The study used the survey method in data collection. The tool of data collection was a questionnaire. Descriptive statistics (means, mode, median) were used to analyze the data. The findings of the study revealed many gaps and weaknesses in forest conservation. On this basis, the study makes the following recommendation: full participation of policy makers at all levels of conservation: connection of industry with forest conservation: involvement of schools and communities in conservation programmes: integration of youth programmes in conservation; developing market out lets for nature based community enterprises and sustained public education on conservation.