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USAID Extended Forest Team (May) Meeting

by Jean Brennan last modified Jan 10, 2013 11:47 AM
Presentation by Dr. Diane Russell, Social Scientist, USAID NRM-Biodiversity Team, Washington and Michael Colby, Economist, USAID NRM-Land Team, Washington on "The Complexities of the Mau Forest Complex in Kenya, East Africa." [Report back from the Field]. Introduction: In early 2006, Kenya was experiencing a serious drought, with people and animals dying and rivers virtually drying up. The Mau Forest Complex is a group of gazetted, plantation and community managed forests, together comprising one Kenya’s five “water towers.” It supports the country’s two largest foreign exchange industries: tea and tourism. The Mara River, which drains the Maasai Mara and Serengeti Parks, finds its source in the Mau forest. There are several immediate pressures contributing to the degradation of the Mau Forest Complex, including forest excisions, incursions, and unregulated water use. Behind these pressures are political and economic forces that shape migrations, land ownership, and forest management. With the new Forest Bill being implemented and uproar over excisions and incursions, there is potential for change. The question is: in which direction? This talk is based on a scoping tour in January-February 2005 that took us around the Mau meeting many actors and trying to unlock the complex political ecology of the Mau Complex.
When May 03, 2006
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Where 1325 G. St., NW, Washington DC; 4th floor Nile Conference Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone 202-712-1381
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Background on the USAID/Kenya Natural Resource Management Program. Kenya has a landmass of 500,000 km2, of which only 17% is arable while 83% consists of semi-arid and arid land. Kenya's natural resources, in particular its rich flora and fauna are among the country's most valuable assets. The major economic sectors –agriculture, pharmaceutical, mining, fisheries, and timber industries rely on raw materials extracted from natural resources. Kenya earned some US$ 300 million from wildlife-based tourism in 2001, comprising a net economic gain of US$ 27 million and contributing 5% of Kenya's GDP, a tenth of formal employment opportunities and over a quarter of total foreign exchange earnings. Kenya's closed canopy forests, are located in the high productivity areas and are a source for major rivers from which hydro electrical power is harnessed. In the rural areas, more than 3.5 million households rely on forest and forest-based products to meet their livelihood needs. Approximately 70% of the country’s total domestic energy is derived from wood.

The USAID/Kenya natural resources program objective is to support efforts that will lessen, reverse or halt unsustainable use of the natural resource base through an integrated natural resources management approach to conservation. The focus is on influencing change in the community behavior regarding natural resources by promoting favorable incentives to improve natural resources management (NRM). The identified challenges are addressed through three initiatives, namely: Wildlife, Marine and Forestry/Range Rehabilitation programs. Activities supported include: i) land improvement programs such as agroforestry, watershed management and range improvement activities, ii) development of nature-based businesses including support to community-private sector partnership deals, iii) protected areas management and iii) support for participatory policy reform.

The Forestry Management Program aims at enhancing integrated forest management and conservation.
The program supports the following areas in forest management: i)Institutional strengthening through capacity building, technical assistance and material support to KWS and the Forest Department (FD); ii) support for the implementation of participatory forestry management systems around Arabuko Sokoke, Mt. Kenya and Mukogodo forest through the application of low cost and appropriate technologies and increased diversity of forest-based businesses and iii) Support the implementation of the environmental management and coordination act (EMCA) by assisting with establishing National Environmental Management Authority’s (NEMA) infrastructure and operations and capacity building for District Environmental Committees (DECs) to implement the Act. The main implementing agencies include the Forest department (FD), Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), NEMA, KWS, National Museums of Kenya, Nature Kenya.

For more information on the USAID Kenya Mission’s NRM Program go to

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