Scholars Root for Participatory Forest Management

A roundtable discussion

JKUAT continues to take an active role in mapping the path toward viable solutions by facilitating dialogues between scholars and policymakers. This has been necessitated by the need to share views and find common ground, particularly in topics relating to the preservation of forest cover.

Dr. Josiah Ateka and Dr. Robert Mbeche both from the department of Agriculture and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (COANRE) convened a peer learning meeting with Kenya Forestry Service (KFS) personnel to analyze and see ways of improving the country’s participatory forest management (PFM) initiative.

The initiative under the Forest Action Nepal project aimed at fostering in-depth conversations on PFM among Kenyan scholars and policymakers, as well as to give policy ideas to help combat forest loss in Ghana and Nigeria, among other places.

The actionable points obtained from the conversations will be presented at an international conference in Nepal, assisting countries in cooperatively addressing social and environmental challenges.

Speaking during the meeting Dr. Mbeche said, in Kenya, PFM, a forest management approach that involves the forest adjacent communities and other stakeholders in the management of forests, has proved to be a key strategy in natural resource conservation and management.

“Legislation and policy are critical in making PFM a success in any country. Through the exchange of ideas with KFS we have understood on the areas we can expound on matters research and play a critical role in addressing the challenges as an institution of higher learning,” Dr. Mbeche averred.

Dr. Ateka echoed his counterpart’s sentiments, stating that peer learning is critical in addressing challenges in any sector using a multifaceted approach. He added that the Nepal conference will not only benefit countries facing challenges, but will also provide insights for successful countries to improve even further.

JKUAT and KFS teams in a commemorative photo

Principal, COANRE, Prof. Daniel Sila lauded the initiative saying it will lead to sustainable tangible outputs that will benefit other countries.

“As experts, we must produce sustainable measures through the formulation of strong policy and research that will provide guidance to critical sectors and ensure we have actionable plans. Good planning yields good results,” Prof. Sila observed.

On her part, Principal, Kenya forest College, Dr. Elizabeth Wambugu stated that there is a need to raise awareness about the importance of forest conservation, emphasizing that KFS is committed to cooperating with like-minded institutions.

“We would be willing to work with institutions such as JKUAT to instill in our population the importance of forest conservation through the incorporation of PFM into the university curriculum,” Dr. Wambugu stated.

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