Forest Ecosystem Resources for Alleviating Household Poverty in Eastern Mau, Kenya

S. K. Kottutt, J. Y. Sumukwo, P. Omondi

Abstract


Forest ecosystem resources are critical to forest-fringe rural households who depend on it to sustain their livelihood outcome like alleviating household poverty. The importance of forest ecosystem resources has long been recognized but has seldom been quantified and analyzed. In this paper, we examine distributional and poverty effects of forest ecosystem resource extraction among households living along forest peripheries in Eastern Mau forest reserve. Primary data was collected from forest-fringe rural households living four kilometers from the forest margin. This study site was purposively selected to be within six-administrative locations that straddle Molo and Njoro sub-counties. Semi-structured questionnaire survey instruments and interviews were used to generate the data. The main objective of the study was to determine the effect of forest-based income in poverty alleviation on forest-fringe rural households. The marginal impact of forest-based income on total household income was computed to analyze the effect of forest-based income on household poverty. Similarly, Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT (α)) poverty indices were used to decompose diverse household income components. The model was used to determine the impact of each household income component on (FGT (α)) poverty indices. The (FGT (α)) poverty indices revealed the marginal impact of forest-based income on household headcount poverty (FGT (α=0)) which reduced from 0.497 to 0.421, indicating a reduction in measured household poverty by 15.86%. Also, forest ecosystem resources contribute approximately 12% to total household income. The paper concludes that forest ecosystem resources have a significant role in alleviating household poverty. As such, it recommends to state-actors to formulate governance structures and policies that concomitantly enhance efficient conservation and management of forest ecosystem resources while embedding sustainable household livelihood outcomes.

Keywords


Forests, Ecosystem, Poverty, Livelihoods, Sustainability, Mau, Kenya

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