Communities living adjacent to South and North Nandi forests have now assumed an active role in conservation of these forests following the recent signing of forest management agreements. Three Community Forest Associations (CFAs) from the area, namely: the Kobujoi Forest Association, the Chesumei Community Forest Association and the Nandi/Kimondi/Iruru Community Forest Association, have signed forest management agreements with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), that will see them carry out duties aimed at sustainable management and conservation of the Kobujoi, Nandi North and Kimondi Forest Reserves respectively, in accordance with the provisions of the Forests Act, 2005.
Under these agreements, the CFAs have been granted rights to carry out activities outlined in their site-specific forest management plans. These activities include: collection of medicinal herbs, bee keeping and harvesting of honey, collection of fuel wood, grazing and grass harvesting, collection of forest produce for community based industries, ecotourism and recreational activities, butterfly farming, carbon trading among other
In addition, the associations shall assist KFS in enforcing the provisions of the Forests Act in particular those related to curbing illegal harvesting of forest produce and hunting of game.
Speaking to representatives of the three CFAs at his office during the signing of the agreements, KFS Director David Mbugua termed the event important adding that the service was willing to share forest benefits with CFAs.
“These agreements should Kenya Forest Service is keen to offload some of the benefits to CFAs that are actively engaged in conservation,” said Mbugua.
Johnstone Koech (chair), Wilson Langat (secretary) and Paul Amai (treasurer) signed the agreement on behalf of the Nandi/Kimodi/Iruru CFA. Eluid Murgor, Abubakar Birgen and Sally Busienei (chair, secretary and treasurer respectively) represented Kobujoi CFA during the signing while Francis Rono (chair), Peter Tuwei (secretary) and Obadiah Muge (treasurer) signed for Chesumei CFA
The GEF/UNDP supported project seeks to strengthen management effectiveness for forests in Western and North Rift Kenya. These regions have several small areas that are part of the Eastern- Afromontane Hotspot that stretches from Saudi Arabia in the north to Zimbabwe in south-central Africa. Areas within the hotspot have remarkable levels of biological diversity, but are also highly threatened. Forests located in this hotspot are: North and South Nandi, Kakamega and Cherengani Hills forests.