Communities in Dakatcha set aside more than 20,000 acres for Conservation.

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Local communities in Dakatcha Woodland have made a landmark decision to set aside 20,051 acres of land for biodiversity conservation. A total of eight different Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) have been marked and mapped for conservation. Dakatcha Woodland Important Bird Area near Malindi is an area of forest, woodland, thicket and seasonal wetlands of global conservation importance. It is thought to be the breeding ground of a rare, endemic and endangered bird, Clarke’s Weaver.

CCAs are landscapes containing significant biodiversity values, ecological services and cultural values. They are voluntarily conserved by indigenous and local communities through customary laws or other effective means.

The CCA areas were selected for their pristine forest or woodland status and confirmed populations of Clarke’s Weavers and other globally important plants and animals. These are areas with little or no disturbance, including fragile sections such as wetlands and escarpments and areas of culturally significance to the local community.

Local conservation groups, including Dakatcha Woodland Conservation Group – a site support group of Nature Kenya – Dakatcha Community Forest Association and others have formed a Conservation Forum to coordinate development and conservation activities in Dakatcha Woodland and management of the CCAs. At the village level, CCAs coordination Committees have been formed to coordinate and manage the CCAs on a day-to-day basis. The committees and other group leaders have been trained in management, leadership, governance and institutional development to give them skills to manage the CCAs.

Together with Kenya Forest Service and other stakeholders, Nature Kenya and the local communities have developed a management plan for Dakatcha Woodland. The plan has programmes that will consolidate conservation efforts and focus on building the capacity of local communities and youth in conservation. It will also put in place structures and systems that will ensure participation of communities in policing, management and decision making in Dakatcha Woodland.

Significant impacts have already been achieved. These has been a major reduction in illegal activities such as illegal charcoal production and poaching of timber and game meat, due to joint patrols between local communities, Kenya Forest Service and the Provincial administration. There are now efforts to produce charcoal in a more sustainable way, with more income to the local communities.

This breakthrough work was made possible through support from a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) funded project “Building The Local Community Capacity To Strengthen Their Advocacy And Participation In Sound And Improved Resource Planning And Utilization Of Dakatcha Woodlands, Kenya.”