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Enchroachment on Mau Forests Complex, Kenya


The Mau Forest Complex is the largest remaining true forest in Kenya. It is the source of water for the farmlands of western Kenya and the vast drylands of northwestern Kenya. It supports the livelihood of millions of people, and the most famous wildlife parks in the world including Masai Mara National Reserve. Degazettement of forest reserves and continuous widespread encroachments have led to the destruction of over 107,000 ha over the last two decades, representing over 25 percent of the Mau. The government of Kenya under previous regimes did so much to exacerbate the forest's destruction by handing out land for votes in the run up to multiparty elections, making the conflict more political than environmental.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Enchroachment on Mau Forests Complex, Kenya
State or province:Rift Valley
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Specific commodities:Land
Indigenous Forests
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:40,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1,000,000
Relevant government actors:Kenya Forest Service; Kenya Wildlife Service;Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources; Department for Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Rhino Ark; African Wildlife Foundation ; Nature Kenya; Kenya Forest Working Group; United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Ewaso Ngiro South Development Authority (ENSDA) and the East African Wild Life Society
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Recreational users
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Other Environmental impactsReduced volume of Rivers as a result of deforestation.
Increased siltation of rivers and lakes as a result of deforestation and cultivation in the upper catchment.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Development of alternatives:An effective management structure to stop any further degradation in the Mau Forests Complex through;
Providing for the relocation of the people currently residing in the forests;
The restoration of all degraded forests and critical water catchment areas in the Mau Forests Complex; and Mobilizing resources to implement the above mentioned objectives and secure the sustainability of the entire ecosystem.
Immediate livelihood support is also critical for the families relocated from the Mau Forests Complex.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Though the government through Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service as well as several NGOs have been implementing programmes aimed at restoring the Mau, conservationists have expressed the challenge of lack of political will.
Politicians have always interfered with restoration efforts by giving away land in return for votes and making eviction of people who have settled in the forest and land grabbers difficult.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Forest Act; Wildlife Conservation and Management Act; National Environmental Management Act; Land Act; National Land Policy

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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Meta information
Contributor:Serah Munguti
Last update24/06/2014
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