Decentralization and Institutional Change for Sustainable Forest Management in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia
Edited By Franz Gatzweiler
Chapter 12 Towards Adaptation: From Indigenous Management Systems to Decentralized Forest Governance: Emily Obonyo and Jephine A. Mogoi
207 Chapter 12 Towards Adaptation: From Indigenous Management Systems to Decentralized Forest Governance Emily Obonyo and Jephine A. Mogoi 12.1 Abstract Culture and indigenous knowledge play an important role in forest conservation and management. Forests in Kenya with strong cultural institutions have ensured their existence despite threats over destruction. For some communities, cultural forests are regarded as temples of God as they are a manifestation of the spiritual powers of deities and departed ancestors. Harvesting of products in these forests therefore was largely controlled by strong beliefs, norms, regulations and strict codes of enforcement. This chapter is based on a case study conducted in Mau and Ramogi forests, which historically had the presence of strong traditional institutions but are undergoing transition due to changes in the country’s forest management policies. Using methods developed by the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/ifri/home) and participatory approaches, this chapter attempts to show the link between tradi- tional management institutions and the wise use of forest resources through ex- amining the contribution of these management systems to forest governance. The findings indicate that the legitimacy of some these institutions has weakened due to weak and conflicting government policies leading to widespread degradation of the forests. The new Forest Act introduced in 2007 (GoK, 2007) has given opportunities to communities to practice self-governance and create institutions best suited to their needs. 12.2 Introduction There are many traditional resource management practices that have proved to maintain biodiversity and socio-ecological systems (Gadgil and Berkes, 1991) and...
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