Effects of forest resource use conflicts on conservation efforts in Enderit forest block in Mau forest complex, Kenya
This research study, carried out in Enderit forest block in Eastern Mau Forest, sought to establish how forest resource use conflicts affect conservation efforts. The specific objectives of the study were to examine the types of forest resource use conflicts in the forests, identify the stakeholders involved in forest conservation and their focus and examine how the various forest conservation programmes impact sustainable conservation of the forest. The study applied both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The qualitative methods were used to collect data that could not be subjected to statistical tests. These included relevant laws, by-laws, policies and community‟s opinions. On the other hand, quantitative research methods were used in areas where data collected were capable of being subjected to statistical analysis. This type of data was organized and presented in form of graphs, tables, averages, maps and other statistical presentations. The hypothesis of the study was tested using chi square. The study findings established five main types of the forest resource use conflicts in the study area; Conflicts between forest adjacent communities and the Kenya Forest Service over illegal forest resource use; human-wildlife conflict; conflicts between pastoralists and peasant farmers; Conflicts between communities upstream and downstream due to scarcity and quality of water; Conflict between stakeholders involved in conservation, broadly classified as State Corporations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Educational institutions, local communities and private sector actors, due to different conservation objectives and interests. The study established that despite the concerted efforts to conserve the block, the existing forest resource use conflict largely undermine sustainability of these efforts. The study therefore recommended that that for sustainable conservation of the forest block; the Government and all the stakeholders should put in place policy measures that aim at increasing income and generating off-farm employment activities for the forest adjacent communities. This would reduce forest dependency and consequently enhance biodiversity conservation. Community Forest Association also should be empowered through capacity building to enable them carry out their various mandates appropriately. Policy to guide on resource sharing under Participatory Forest Management framework also needs to be put in place.