Harmonizing multi-stakeholder interests to improve forest conservation in Southern Kenya

Habel, Jan Christian
Schultze-Gebhardt, Kathrin
Maghenda, Marianne
Shauri, Halimu
Kioko, Esther
Mwagura, Lawrence
Teucher, Mike
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Springer Nature
The cloud forests of the Taita Hills are valuable refuges for numerous endemic and rare animal and plant species. They also provide various ecosystem services that support subsistence farming. Due to the large-scale destruction and conversion of these species-rich natural forests into subsistence agriculture and plantations of exotic tree species, most of the natural cloud forest habitats have disappeared and ecosystem services have been significantly diminished. Despite numerous conservation initiatives, the destruction of the Taita Hills forest ecosystem continues, which also lowers livelihood quality of the local people. During a workshop with representatives of GOs, NGOs, researchers and representatives of the local community we identified potential factors which are essential to reverse this negative trend. We found that governance structures urgently need to be strengthened, and that the traditional conservation system needs to get transformed and revitalised. The basic prerequisite is a vital communication among generations, especially between the youth and the elders, as well as and improved communication of scientific knowledge to policy makers and the society. Furthermore, it is essential to harmonize stakeholders’ mandates, policies and actions to efficiently restore this unique forest biodiversity hotspot, and to secure livelihood needs for the local people.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Biodiversity and Conservation, 2023, available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-023-02591-1 . Keywords: forest conservation; communication; multiple stakeholders; policies; tradition.
Habel, J.C., Schultze-Gebhardt, K., Maghenda, M. et al. Harmonizing multi-stakeholder interests to improve forest conservation in Southern Kenya. Biodivers Conserv 32, 1777–1785 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-023-02591-1