Influence of Distance in Forest Utilization and Its Interaction with Neighbouring Communities of South West Mau, Kenya, Konoin Sub-County
Intensity of use of forest and interaction of neighbouring communities with the forest is not uniform. This study looked at how individual’s distance from forest edge influences their access to forest resources and their participation in conservation. The purpose of the study was to determine: how forest utilization varies with distance from forest edge; how distance of an individual’s location from South West Mau forest border influences his/her interaction with the forest. A total of 360 households were interviewed along six transects of six kilometres across the study area. First ten households within every strata along each transect were sampled. Equal number of males and females as well as youth and old were sampled. For each respondent, the numbers of forest uses were determined. The results indicated that forest utilization and interaction decrease as one is located further away from forest. All forest uses studied showed a decreasing trend on increasing distance. Among the forest uses tested firewood, pasture, initiation, praying, and marriage materials indicated that they significantly vary with distance, P values of 0.0000, 0.0000, 0.0267, 0.0063 and 0.0011 respectively. However, Honey, seeds/seedlings and herbal medicine were not significantly different along distance0.0578, 0.064 and 0.0612 respectively. Conservation planning and management of forests should involve community members who are close to the forest as possible especially within three kilometres distance from the forest.
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