Conservation and human livelihoods at the crossroads : local needs and knowledge in the management of Arabuko Sokoke Forest
Chiawo, David O.
Kombe, Wellington N.
Craig, Adrian J.F.K
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Arabuko Sokoke Forest is the largest remaining single block of indigenous dry coastal tropical forest in Eastern Africa. Households within a 5 km buffer zone depend heavily on the forest for their livelihood needs, and the pressure on forest resources is on the increase. In May 2015, 109 households were interviewed on resources they obtain from the forest, in terms of the self-reported level of monthly income. We found household income and farm size significantly positively correlated with benefits from the forest, highlighting the possible influence of household wealth in exploiting forest resources. A large proportion of households (32%) had limited knowledge of local birds, while human–bird conflict was reported by 44% of the households. While many households were keen to participate in conservation projects that maintain the forest, 44% had no knowledge of the forest management plan, and 60% of those interviewed had no idea of how forest zones were designated for particular activities. Drivers for local community participation in conservation projects appear to be sustainable income and fulfilment of basic household needs.