Community in the forefront in Mau forest restoration | WWF Kenya

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Community in the forefront in Mau forest restoration

It's 7:00 AM, a cloudy and chilly morning, we meet Richard Langat, at the Nyangores Forest Station, a passionate conservationist. For the past four years, Langat has been volunteering as a scout at Nyangores Forest, which forms part of the Mau forest Complex.

Today Langat and five other scouts will be accompanying Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service officers for a four-day routine foot patrol inside the forest. Donned in an old green uniform, Langat tells us that, occasional joint patrols help weed out illegal activities inside the forest, but nothing beats involving the forest community as first line of defence in protecting this critical resource.

Langat argues that, it is through sensitising forest communities on the importance of forests and developing a benefit sharing mechanisms that they have managed to create a functional social fence, which has helped restore the forest.

“Through community engagement, incidents of forest fires, illegal logging, elephants poaching and bushmeat hunting has significantly reduced.” In Nyangores Forest Stations, scouts have recorded zero charcoal production in sections of the forest for months. Charcoal burning was a daily occurrence before participatory forest management was introduced.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Kenya has been working with forest communities in the Mau Forest Complex to develop and operationalise participatory forest management that has helped improve forest management as well as livelihoods for the forest adjacent community.
Richard Langat volunteer scout at Nyangores Forest
Richard Langat volunteer scout at Nyangores Forest