El Mecanismo para la Restauración de Bosques y Paisajes

FAO's support to the ILMAMUSI Community Forest Association in Kenya

Year published: 10/11/2020

Mukogodo Forest is a national forest reserve and one of the last remaining dry forests in Kenya. It lies on an important historical elephants’ migration route between the northern rangelands and Laikipia, traversing Borana and Lewa Conservancies, Ngare Ndare Forest, and is part of the elephant corridor leading to Mount Kenya. It is also an important biodiversity hotspot.

Mukogodo Forest, a key water tower for Kenya, is threatened by deforestation, while its surrounding landscape is threatened by land degradation. FAO is addressing these problems through the project “Restoration of Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASAL) of Kenya through Bio-enterprise Development and Other Incentives” under The Restoration Initiative (TRI) funded by the Global Environment Facility. The initiative aims at restoring degraded landscape and enhancing the socio-economic development of local communities.

The initiative believes in the importance of community-driven management of natural resources. It thus provides its support to the people who live with, and rely on, these natural resources and fully involves them in the management of resource use.

In the case of Mukogodo Forest, FAO is supporting the ILMAMUSI community forest association (CFA) as the custodian of the forest. A series of recent meetings have worked on re-establishing the representation and compliance of ILMAMUSI CFA with the laws governing national forests and resources in the country.

Three major results have come out of these meetings:

  1. Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has been importantly engaged in the re-establishment of the CFA and is committed to its success. The engagement of the chairman of the board is an indication of its more serious support for the forest. This KFS engagement has been missing for the last 13 years.
  2. The forest now has an official register of members allowed entry and use of the forest’s resources. They are drawn from the communities living within 5 km of the forest edge. This is the first time ever ILMAMUSI CFA has its own membership register; previously the CFA had relied on group ranch registers from Ilngwesi, Makurian, Kurikuri and Lekurruki group ranches. A total of 2 296 people have now populated the CFA register. Membership registration will be an annual activity; it is the foundation upon which community involvement in comanagement of forest resources in Kenya is built.
  3. Six forest user groups have been formed in each conservancy to manage specific elements of the forest’s future. These groups are responsible for access, use, and sustainable management of these six resources. They include honey harvesting, herbal medicine collection, pasture and water, ecotourism, tree nurseries establishment and fuel wood collection. Six representatives have been selected from 24 community members selected to represent each of these forest uses.

This is a significant departure from the past CFA management formation in which the community based organizations’ chairpersons were appointed to the board to represent the interests of forest user groups.

These six forest user group representatives are added to the full management committee of ILMAMUSI.

More information and updates on ongoing CFA support can be found here

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