The Impact of Participatory Forest Management on Local Community Livelihoods in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya
This study examines the impact of participatory forest management (PFM) on forest-adjacent household livelihoods in the Arabuko-Sokoke forest in Kenya. It compares the impacts on households near PFM forests (PFM zones) with those near forests with no participatory management (non-PFM zones). The study questions were: does conservation of the Arabuko-Sokoke forest result in net household incomes?; does PFM increase net household benefits?; and are household benefits uniformly distributed within the 5 km PFM intervention zone? The hypotheses tested were: forest conservation benefits exceed forest conservation costs; PFM zones have higher household benefits than non-PFM zones; and benefits and costs reduce with distance from forest edge. In the year 2009, we collected data on household benefits and costs in PFM and non-PFM zones. Data were collected along 10 km transects at 1 km intervals, sampling 600 households up to 5 km away from the forest. The results show varied household dependence on the Arabuko-Sokoke forest. The forest benefits exceed costs in PFM zones but the forest is a cost in non-PFM zones, and costs and benefits reduce with distance from forest edge. The study concludes that, though not cheap, PFM is a tool that can help the Arabuko-Sokoke forest win the support of the adjacent local communities.