Restoration of Sacred Kaya forests in Kenyan Coast for enhanced provision of ecosystem services and products for improved livelihoods
Nature based products for Rabai community
Training of community on nursery management
Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)
Community / field-based implementation
Kaya forests are unique multi-functional socio- ecological production landscapes that provide direct and indirect benefits for human wellbeing. These forests are increasingly being degraded due to rapid population growth, overdependence on natural resources by local communities and cultural erosion brought about by modern education and religion. The weak enforcement of laws governing the conservation of these forests coupled with the loss of cultural values and practices that have traditionally been used to conserve the forests present conservation challenges that require urgent holistic intervention. In view of this, this project aimed: (1) To enhance the capacity of local communities to undertake restoration of degraded sites in Kaya forests; (2) To initiate successful nature based enterprises for biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development; and (3) To enhance the capacity of local communities in climate change adaptation and mitigation through conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage.
- The most important achievement of the project was improved capacity of local communities to undertake restoration of degraded sites in Kaya forests, and regularly monitor the recovery of replanted sites using a community-based monitoring tracking tool. This can serve as a model for ensuring sustained long-term community-led conservation efforts.
- The operationalisation of a community seed bank and tree nurseries has sustained restoration activities by availing quality indigenous tree species seedlings, provided a good starting point for conservation of landraces and raised awareness on the importance of landraces among the community. Up-scaling of the seedbank is expected to further improve farmers’ access to resilient and affordable seeds for traditional crop varieties.
- The project has also contributed to enhanced sales of value-added and nature-based products and services (eco-tourism, basketry, bee-keeping and traditional artefacts), thereby contributing to increased household incomes.
- Partnering with community groups enabled the project to penetrate the communities, and enhanced ownership of project activities by the local communities. Facilitating the implementation of activities by the community made it easier to achieve project objectives. Moreover, partnerships with other authorities such as relevant ministries of the county governments, NGOs and other stakeholders enhanced the project visibility, increasing the potential for upscaling project activities.
- Effective training of community groups enabled them to act as agents of change. Improved capacity of local communities to undertake restoration of degraded sites in Kaya forests, and regularly monitor the recovery of replanted sites using community-based monitoring tracking tool can serve as a model for ensuring sustained long-term community-led conservation efforts.
- The project also found that there is need for support to scale up project activities to meet the demand from other Mijikenda communities.
Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)
- academic/ research institute
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