LOCAL COMMUNITY PERCEPTIONS OF THE CAUSES AND IMPACTS OF DEFORESTATION OF KAPTAGAT FOREST, UASIN GISHU COUNTY
|Volume||JASETD Volume 2 Issue 1 2017|
|Authors||Njeru*, J.M., & Bett, S. J. |
|Article Type||Research article|
|First Published||June 2017|
Understanding the local community perceptions and attitudes towards natural resource conservation is recognised a useful step in identifying strategies of involving community members in conservation programmes. The main aim of the current study was to determine the local community perception of the causes and effects of the deforestation of Kaptagat Forest. Descriptive research design was used to determine the causes of deforestation, extent of deforestation, the socio economic impacts, and the measures that have been put in place to control and stop further deforestation. Systematic random sampling was used to administer questionnaires to the target population and results analysed using chi-square tests. The results showed that the respondents differed significantly on the causes of deforestation. of Kaptagat.. Apparently illegal logging, charcoal burning and firewood were identified as the most important drivers of deforestation. Majority of the respondents felt that the forest has been highly deforested. The majority felt that reduction in water volumes in streams, changes in rainfall patterns, increased soil erosion and siltation were making the community worse off socioeconomically. Furthermore, the community felt that there was a strong relationship between the level of poverty and the level of deforestation of Kaptagat Forest, thus revealing an understanding of the tripartite relationship between development, environment and conservation of the forest. In addition, the informants pointed out the need for increased local community involvement in conservation of the forest through strengthening of CFAs, creating more conservation awareness and encouraging sustainable use of forest resources. This study provides important insight and data on what has increasingly been recognised as crucial conditions for effective management of natural resources, particularly the management of forests in the rural settings.