Effects of variation in local governance on community attitudes, ecological outcomes and ecosystem services in Mt. Kenya forest.

Nthenge, Agatha (2019) Effects of variation in local governance on community attitudes, ecological outcomes and ecosystem services in Mt. Kenya forest. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Many countries in the tropics have decentralised forest management to incorporate local communities in decision making, referred to as community-based forest management (CBFM). A paradigm shift from state control, CBFM has been receiving considerable attention in conservation due to success in restoring degraded forestlands. However, successful forest outcomes are largely inferred from comparisons with other governance regimes e.g. state management. Effective governance is a prerequisite for positive conservation outcomes but little attention has been paid on local governance and in particular variability of local governance between local communities and its effect on forest outcomes. Additionally, CBFM provides insufficient benefits, particularly economic benefits, yet sufficient net benefits are crucial for winning support of local communities. Using a globally relevant CBFM programme, this thesis examines variation in local governance between communities and its effects on ecological outcomes. Factors influencing communities’ attitudes towards forest conservation and ecosystem service preferences important for locals’ livelihoods and well-being are examined. Local governance at grassroot community institutions – community forest associations (CFAs) was assessed qualitatively from CFAs documentation and quantitatively from respondents’ perceptions of CFAs governance using principles of good governance. Forest structure and outcomes were examined in CFAs plots through ground measurement of forest parameters, field observation and in-depth interviews. Local attitudes, livelihoods, ecosystem services and preferences, PFM processes and activities were examined through a combination of mixed methods in social research. Strongly-governed CFAs plots had better forest outcomes; species diversity, carbon biomass and lower forest disturbance than weakly-governed plots. Further local’s attitudes were influenced by strong governance, higher economic benefits and capacity building. CBFM provided multiple ecosystem services with contrasting perceptions to preferred ecosystem services influenced by socio-demographic factors. Co-management programmes must devise mechanisms for strengthening governance and offer sustainable solutions for enhancing flow of benefits (economic and non-economic) to improve conservation effectiveness.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2021 11:00
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2021 11:00
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/79669


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