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Involvement, knowledge and perception in a natural reserve under participatory management: Mida Creek, Kenya


  • Céline Frank
  • James Gitundu Kairo
  • Jared O. Bosire
  • Mohamed Mohamed
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
  • Nico Koedam


Participatory forest management (PFM), as opposed to top down state management, is part of the decentralization process that has occurred in Africa over the past few decades. In Kenya, the process is still at its dawn with enforcing laws dating from 2005 and many pilot projects now in course. Little feedback has been given so far. This case study evaluates, for the first time, participatory management of a Kenyan protected mangrove forest. PFM, coupled with a status of protection, is believed to be an efficient way to preserve the threatened mangrove forests. Semi-structured interviews with local community members (people living within or next to the forest) and key-informants (people working in the forest management) were performed in order to measure three major components of participatory management: Knowledge, involvement, and perception of local communities. Those interviews revealed a partial and overall low involvement of local communities in the formal participatory management structure. Knowledge of the policy concerning mangrove forest management was higher for the people having a job related to natural resources from the forest (e.g. fishing or tour guiding) and for people holding at least a primary level education. The former group was also more involved in the management process. Villagers who were better informed about PFM approaches were also generally more involved in the management. Perceptions of PFM were contrasted and many criticisms were revealed at this early stage of implementation. These results are believed to evolve positively as the government regains trust among local communities who are given more power and wardenship on the forest.

Suggested Citation

  • Céline Frank & James Gitundu Kairo & Jared O. Bosire & Mohamed Mohamed & Farid Dahdouh-Guebas & Nico Koedam, 2017. "Involvement, knowledge and perception in a natural reserve under participatory management: Mida Creek, Kenya," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/253169, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/253169
    Note: SCOPUS: ar.j

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    Decentralization; Kenya; Mangrove; Participatory forest management;

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