Communities, property rights and forest decentralisation in Kenya: Early lessons from participatory forestry management

The introduction of participatory forestry management (PFM) in Kenya has led to the formation of community forest associations (CFAs). Data collected from 12 forests over a decade indicate that most associations are confederating to manage shared forests through the Forests Act of 2005. Emerging findings indicate that associations are responsible for diverse management activities in forest protection, monitoring, and management, yet access to decision-making, revenue streams, and overall resource control rights are vested in the Kenya Forestry Service. Still, this is an improvement as CFAs perform most governance functions autonomously, including the crafting of resource harvesting rules, the choice of leadership, and conflict resolution. In order to balance community incentives with the burdens and responsibilities they bear, rights to revenue streams generated from forest resources must be shared with communities to ensure continued commitment to the PFM process. Furthermore, the viability of CFAs is threatened by power struggles, leadership wrangles, and the splintering of groups. Negotiation support to moderate conflicting interests, and strengthen internal conflict resolution and governance is necessary. Download publication

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