Factors influencing the performance of national reserves: A Case of lake Bogoria National reserve, Kenya
Worldwide, natural resources have increasingly been conserved by designating as protected areas. In effect, integrated management plans have been developed for protected areas. This is because management planning is thought of as an effective tool for promoting sustainable conservation. However, there is limited research on the extent to which implementation of such plans have created impact to the environment and people. This study assessed the factors influencing the performance of national reserves in Kenya, where management plans have been developed and focused on Lake Bogoria National Reserve. In particular, the study sought to establish the influence of management factors; community participation, socio-economic factors and resources factors on the performance of national reserves. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The target population for the study comprised 16,495 households spread within 13 administrative locations in the five districts that fall within the Lake Bogoria catchment area. Multi-stage sampling techniques were adopted to select 375 households from which an adult respondent was interviewed. In addition, 42 LBNR staff and 12 key informants from the major stakeholder organizations/departments/institutions were purposively selected to participate in the study. Primary data was collected using the household and LBNR employees’ questionnaires and an interview guide for the key informants. The instruments were reviewed by both the management staff of the LBNR involved in the management of the IMP and the supervisor from the University of Nairobi for expert judgment and review of content and face validity. A pilot survey was conducted using a sample of 10 households in Mugurin Location to determine the feasibility of obtaining the relevant data before the actual data collection process was conducted. The data collected form a pilot study with a sample of 10 households was analyzed to check the reliability of the instrument. Reliability analysis produced an alpha of 0.77. Quantitative data collected using the questionnaires was edited, coded and then entered into computer. Data analysis was done with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Scientists software. Quantitative analysis of the influence of the various factors on the performance of the reserves was done using percentages, simple means and standard deviations and the findings presented in tables. The percentage scores from addition of scores of Likert-like scale items were used to conduct the Pearson’s Product Moment Correlations (PPMC) to determine the relationships between each of the independent variables and the dependent variables. Qualitative data obtained from the open-ended questions in the questionnaires and key informant interviews was extracted, organized and discussed under the main objective areas of the study. The study established that management planning aspects of the LBNR were generally sound/strong, but there were weaknesses in community involvement and in management decision-making and as well as community participation in conservation, which affected the performance of the reserve. The study also established that resource- factors of the LBNR were the weakest, yet all the other factors depend on resources if the goals of biodiversity conservation and socio-economic benefits are to be realized. The study therefore recommends that the management of the LBNR needs to scale up efforts to mobilize adequate resources, both financial and human resources to strengthen the other factors that rely on these resources to realize the goals of biodiversity conservation.