Factors influencing resource based conflicts among forest users: a case of Sururu - East mau forest, Kenya
Mau forest is considered as one of Kenya‟s most dependent and rich Bio-diversity with an estimated annual economic value of US$ 1.3Billion (Africa Policy Report, 2010). But the encroachment on, and untenable exploitation of the Mau ecosystem by the adjacent communities, who encroach the forest for timber, firewood, water and land, resulted in widespread forest degradation with negative effects on the Kenyan economy and the livelihood of the population depended on Mau waters, leading to a series of forced evictions and unending conflicts between the government (forest regulators) and the forest adjacent communities; the worst being the recent 2009 evictions. The purpose of this study in this case sought to investigate the factors influencing Resource Conflict in East Mau forest. The specific objectives of the study was to study the relationship between community participation in forest management, access to forest resources by the forest adjacent communities, the level of environmental knowledge and resource benefit sharing to resource conflicts in Mau forest. In order to collect the required data the population of the study comprised an analysis of secondary data from Mau forest conservation, eviction reports as provided by the government and the use of a questionnaire that guided a structured interview for the forest users and regulators. The expected sample size was 90.The Questionnaire was piloted in a similar environment in Maasai Mau forest Narok County to improve on its validity. The collected data was coded and analyzed and presented using descriptive and inferential statistics namely: frequency tables. All analysis was done using SPSS. The findings for this research found among other factors community participation had a lot of influence on forest resource conflict management. Participation brings on board all other factors of access to resources, correct environmental knowledge and resource benefit sharing contributing to forest conflicts. This research concludes that for sustainable forest resource use and management in Mau Forest to be achieved, a more collaborative and participatory dialogue approach has to be embraced.