The Rural-Urban Diversity in Community Participation in Forest Management in Kenya
Participatory forest management in Kenya entails involvement of community members and stakeholders in the management of forests through formation of Community forest association (CFA). CFA membership is drawn from the communities adjacent to the forest. Urban and rural areas by definition present setups with population characterized by different socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors which potentially affect the nature of institutions within these contexts. This study sought to establish how rural-urban differences influences participation of the community members in forest management. Kiptuget Forest in Baringo County and Ngong Road Forest in Nairobi City County were purposefully selected to represent rural and urban forests respectively. Primary data was collected using questionnaires and key informants interviews while secondary data collected from review of PFM technical reports, articles, and publications. Data was analyzed using content analysis, descriptive statistics and T-test.
The study Ngong Road forest association was constituted by heterogeneous membership composed of community members organized in community based organizations, Nongovernmental organizations and corporate bodies. On the other hand membership of Kiptuget was homogenous composed of individuals from the community organized in Community Based Organizations. It was also found out that majority of members of Kiptuget forest were involved in farming activities in the forests while in Ngong Road forest, members were involved in diverse economic activities in the forest. The study further found out that members of Ngong Road forest were involved at a consultative level of decision making while members of Kiptuget forest were involved at an informative level of decision making. The study recommends that the state agency should operationalize more economic activities for community members particularly in rural forests. The study further recommends that the state through the lead agency-Kenya Forest Service grants more decision making powers to the CFA.