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Ikiara Isaac Gichuru - Masters Student, Africa Nazarene University, Kenya


This applied research project is to a large extent concerned with the factors that contribute to the success of forest plantation establishment through the PELIS strategy i.e non-residential cultivation in the forest. The former shamba system has lately changed to Plantation Establishment for Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS) to make it acceptable. Our country’s forest cover was at less than 2% of the total land area as opposed to the internationally required standards of at least 10%. The researcher briefly outlined the general factors affecting forest plantation establishment in the country and narrowed down the field research to Mucheene forest in Meru County. The objectives of the study included: to examine how the PELIS strategic policy guidelines affected forest plantation establishment; to assess the effect of community participation in forest plantation establishment; to evaluate the role of the Sub-District Development Committee’s in forest plantation establishment; to explain how capacity building affected forest plantation establishment and to establish the extent to which monitoring affected forest plantation establishment. The PELIS approach was of great importance to the forest plantation establishment particularly in poverty reduction, employment creation, reducing government expenditure by reducing its staff and its contribution to environmental conservation. To realize the objectives, the study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data from accessible population. The population comprised of one thousand six hundred and fifty cultivators who are members of the six Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) namely; Kimbo, Nchooro, Mujujune, Muruguma, Kirukuru and Katheri which were operating in the Mucheene forest block. The researcher collected data from one hundred and sixty five cultivators and used descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the data. The data was analyzed using frequency distribution tables, percentages, and distribution tables. The study was significant in that its findings will strengthen the Participatory Forest Management (PFM) concept of sharing benefits so as to address the causes of failure of the former shamba system and build on the successes of the PELIS programme. The findings of the study indicated that the forest plantation establishment through the PELIS strategy was faced with various challenges at various levels despite being the preferred method. Capacity building was low and which had direct reflection on the understanding of the policy guidelines, community participation at various levels and monitoring and evaluation of the strategy implementation. The researcher recommended that concerted efforts be made to sensitize the community on the PFM concept, avail funding to the programme, streamline the employment of casuals under the economic stimulus programme, and to physically count the planted trees with the objective of establishing the survival rate. The researcher recommends that further research be done on the issue of benefit sharing between the community and Kenya Forest Service, the prospect of establishing nature-based enterprises to address the issue of poverty and also address the issue of over grazing so as to maintain an optimal carrying capacity of the eco-system.

Full Length Research (PDF Format)