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Title BIOTA involvement in the participatory forest management of Kakamega Forest, aiming at a zonation map

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Short title Participatory forest management of Kakamega Forest

Author(s) Mitchell, N.(1); Fischer, E.(2); Freund, W.(3); Gaesing, K.(4); Hagen, M.(5); Kraemer, M.(5); Oesker, M.(6); Peters, M.K.(3); Wägele, J.W.(3); Wünscher, T.(7); Schaab, G.(1)

Presenting author Mitchell, N.

Institution(s) (1) Faculty of Geomatics, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences; (2) Faculty of Botany, University of Koblenz-Landau, Koblenz; (3) Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Bonn; (4) Faculty of Spatial Planning of Devoloping Countries, University of Dortmund; (5) Faculty of Biology / Biological Collection, University of Bielefeld; (6) Faculty of Botany, University of Hohenheim; (7) Department of Economic and Technological Change, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn

Keywords forest management plan; participatory; zonation; geodata; biodiversity conservation

Abstract Kakamega Forest in western Kenya is located within an area of very high human population levels and has for long been subject to considerable disturbance from both local usage and commercial exploitation. For the last two decades the forest has been managed by two separate authorities, Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service, practising very different styles of forest management. Administration of the forest is further challenged by its being located in two districts. Following up the initial effort of these institutions to instigate participatory forest management in Kakamega, funds have been made available through BIOTA to facilitate the planning. A core planning team has been set up to coordinate the process which includes stakeholder workshops, and to publish a final participatory forest management plan. Five management themes have been identified, each being tackled by a working group comprised of the most relevant stakeholders, and involving the local community forest authority. As part of the planning team BIOTA-East has jointly proposed a system of management zones based on research outcomes from the last seven years. Here, in particular the geodata on past forest extents, current forest cover types, and disturbance levels have enabled the spatial delineation of zones of differing status. A BIOTA programme of restoration of natural forest and planting corridors between fragments is realized together with the local communities. On-going work in participatory land use planning in the agricultural land beyond the forest boundary has also fed into the proposal. Both the zonation and the management actions, uses/restrictions and responsibilities that accompany it are now to be jointly elaborated and decided on by all stakeholders. The chance of safeguarding Kakamega Forest and its high biodiversity lies in allowing the sustainable use of natural resources by the forest-adjacent community while continuing to enforce strict measures for forest protection.

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